Monday, September 23, 2013

St. Elmo Ghost Town Visit

On our recent visit to Colorado I stopped at my favorite ghost town for a couple of hours.  I have driven to St. Elmo before.  The ghost town is about 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista.   The Colorado skies have always cooperated and given me great clouds for photography.  Here are a couple of new HDR images from St. Elmo.

Noticeably on this trip there are more ATVs than I have noticed before...a disappointment for sure. This area was so quiet and pristine on my last visit.   However, I was able to take my time and get a few photos without tourists.  Nikon D7000, Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 lens on Slik tripod with Acratech ballhead.  Enjoy!  More later...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Great Sand Dunes National Park - Mosca, Colorado - HDR Images

Lynn and I were recently spent 2 days at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca in southern Colorado.  I was able to photographe the dunes both at sunset and sunrise.  No real favorite here, but I think that the shadows played out the best at sunrise.  I was armed with my Slik tripod and Acratech ballhead.  This was a great place to work on my HDR technique.  All of these shots are 3 shot HDR photos.  Camera: Nikon D7000, Nikon 17-55mm lens.

Incidentally, on the final photo in this series the dark lines at the bottom of the picture depict the almost bone dry Medano Creek.   I imagine that this is a different sight when water is raging after the winter snows.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Great Sand Dunes National Park & the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad

We have had a great week in Colorado though there is horrendous flooding in the Denver-Boulder area as I write this.  Our week began with a couple of days in Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The Park is in the south part of the state. It boasts of the highest dunes in North America... High Dunes is 700 feet high. With sunrise these dunes make for some spectacular photography as the sun casts its warm rays and shadows across the dunes. On our final morning at the dunes my friend and I were the only humans on the dunes for at least an hour at sunrise.

On Friday we drove about 35 miles south to Antonito, CO to catch a motor coach to the beginning of our 64 mile journey on The Cumbres and Toltec Railroad in Chama, NM. The coal burning steam engine train crosses the Colorado-New Mexico State line 11 times. There are many switchbacks along the way.  The train also crosses two trestles. This all is conducive to some great photography. We were in the Luxury Tourist car, but I spent most of the trip photographing from the open car next to our car. This is now our favorite scenic train ride in Colorado.  Additionally, the train makes a lunch stop at The Osier station which at over 10,000 feet is the highest elevation on the rail route. Osier is about the halfway point before completing the journey to Antonito. All of the 3 railyards are fun to photograph with their water towers, engine barns and stations. Railroads also offer great HDR and black and white photo opportunities.

On our continuing trip north to Breckenridge we drove the dirt road to the St. Elmo Ghost Town which continues to be my favorite ghost town to photograph. Somebody warned us that ATV recreational adventurers had taken over this area. I confirm that this has happened and this is disappointing. We saw many ATVs parked and buzzing around this picturesque area. Our travel was on Saturday so I can hope that this is only a weekend event.  I was patient though and I was able to get some shots without distractions. Most of these old buildings are privately owned and these folks have done a fabulous job of keeping this ghost town authentic. More power to them.

Photos and more later.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My New - Tiny Lumix LF1 Camera

I just received my newest camera...a Panasonic Lumix DMC LF1.  I just received it last night.  Don't you just love Amazon Prime? I brought it with me to the airport I  haven't even been able to charge the camera yet, but here are a couple of observations. The package was tiny. The camera is smaller than my iPhone 5 in its Mophie case. That's pretty small. It includes a USB and AC charger. You just plug the phone into an outlet or a computer for about 3 hours and it is good to go.

The camera appears easy to set up and it's easy to use. I am looking forward to using the wifi function.  The Leica lens zooms to 200mm and focuses down to about 3 inches for macro photography. It shoots in RAW mode and RAW plus JPEG. It has 2 custom settings on the command dial. I will use one for HDR bursts. The second one I will use for portraits at the largest aperture that the camera will bear which is 2.0.

This is going to be fun and rejuvenating.  More later...

Monday, September 2, 2013

I hope that your labor Day is Photogenic!

Happy Labor Day!  I am adding a couple of photos to my recent post about our recent adventure in the Texas Hill Country.  One of the biggest thrills about traveling is getting home and reviewing the pictures.  Sometimes you realize that you might have had more fun than you remembered.

I took this photo in the Cave with No Name near Boerne, Texas...a Natural Historic Landmark.  The cave was first entered in 1935 and has been an attraction since 1939.  I find that caves are very difficult to photograph.  Usually, the stalactites and stalagmites show on the monitor as dull pieces of rock with very little vibrance. I like this particular shot due to the water in the foreground.  I spent a lot of time with this image and finished it in Nik Color Efex Pro.  When I was done I saved my work as a preset for the next time that I have a challenge in a cave.  This photo was taken with my Olympus OMD-EM5 with the Olympus 12-50mm lens.  I used the Olympus FL600 Flash as well.

Near the end of our time in the Hill Country we toured all of the famous missions in San Antonio with the exception of The Alamo which we had done before.  Four missions are operated by the National Parks Service including this one, Mission Concepcion.  The church was founded in 1716.  I think that the black and white treatment gives this historic place authenticity.  This image was made with the same Olympus equipment as above sans flash and finished in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

More later....