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Budapest from the Danuabe


Building a house makes it difficult to get out hiking to take images.  So, with a winter storm bearing down on us in Colorado, I was going through images I took on a Viking cruise in the summer of 2014 to re-edit with some a new workflow I picked up from a BHPhoto Video featuring Tim Greay.

The image above is a night shot from the top of a Viking River Boatmoored on the Danuabe River south of City Center in BudaPest, at the beginning of our cruise. This is the Liberty Bridge.  It was built for millennium celebrations 1894-96.  Emperor Franz Joseph hammered the last silver nail at his inauguration celebration on the Pest side finishing the bridge.  The Pest side is visible with the bridge terminating in the Gellért tér Public Square with the Hotel Gellert visible in the background.



Learning the mechanics of using the Gif Format to exploit moving water.



Lately I’ve seen several animated GIFs that were made from high quality landscape images with just water moving through them.  They were quite eye catching.  I had never made GIFs except for several images from my iPhone or simply used ones that Google photos had auto made from images I had uploaded to Google plus.  We finally got a short break from rain here in Colorado, so this afternoon I took a short run up the Poudre Canyon to catch a series of images of the river to practice this technique.  I took 17 images and edited them in Lightroom.  The images were taken with a Nikon D810 and Nikkor 24-70 lens.  After editing raw files, I reduced the images to 1200 x 800 px and exported them to Photoshop to complete the transition to a GIF format.

The mechanics of the process seem simple enough.  But, I think a smaller stream working it’s way through a rocky bed, surrounded by dense foliage may be more appealing.  Hopefully my trip to Rainier National Park this summer will offer such opportunities!

Fort Collins Fossil Ridge Basketball vs Poudre (Back to Sports)

Savannah Smith vs Poudre

Savannah Smith drew fouls from her drives in the paint much of the night.

It’s been a little over a year since I moved from Michigan to Colorado and quit shooting sports.  This week I got back to having fun!  Thursday night I was lucky enough to shoot a couple of state ranked basketball teams (CHSAANow.com basketball poll).  Fifth ranked Fossil Ridge Sabre Cats Girl’s Team was at home playing previously ranked league foe, Poudre High School Impalas.  There’s been a lot of historic battles between these two league foes and this game was no exception.  The Cats jumped out to an early lead but by halftime it was a one point game.  The game seesawed in the second half till late when the Cats extended out to a six point lead, with a final score of 52-56 .  Savanah Smith lead the Cats with 15 pts, 11 of which came at the foul line.  Her ability to draw fouls on the drive to the basket put Madison Hamm out of the game in the second half.  Lots of pictures from this game.  See them here.

Alex Semadeni Slams on down

Alex Semadeni Slams on down

In the second game of the night, the second ranked Sabercats took on a much less talented Poudre Team.  This contest was over from the get-go, with the cats running out to a 27-2 lead in the first quarter.  Evan Smith lead the way for the Cats with 17 pts.  But, the scoring was spread out as 11 Sabercats got on the board.  Sawyer Findley lead the way for Poudre with 17 points. There are lots of pictures from this game also. Plus there are pictures from a half time performance by the Sabercats Pom Squad.  See them here.

Crystal Lakes, Rocky Mountain N.P.

Lawn Lake, RMNP

Lawn Lake, RMNP

This picture is taken from the south end of Lawn Lake in RMNP.  If you look above the far end of the lake, slightly left off center you can make out what appears to be an ‘M’ made from left over snow.  It is just below this snow when my destination for this post the, Crystal Lakes lie.  (This picture was taken on a previous trip to Lawn Lake).


Little Crystal Lake

In my journey to get back to ‘Long’s Peak’ health since my surgery, I took another step this week.  About 10 days ago I had hiked up to Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain N.P.  It was a 12 mile hike (round trip), 2500 ft gain to just shy of 11,000 ft. elevation and had wiped me out.    Upon return from the hike I was reading one of my hiking books (Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park) and discovered that there are two more destinations above Lawn Lake, Crystal Lakes and The Saddle.  Crystal Lakes are two small Alpine Lakes about 2 miles and 500 ft above Lawn Lake.  The Saddle is a little less than a mile beyond Crystal Lakes and another 500 ft higher than them.  It sits in-between Hagues Peak and Fairchild Mountain and provides expansive views to the northwest.  I talked myself into small steps and decided to only go to Crystal Lakes this time and then do more conditioning and go back to The Saddle another day.

View of Crystal Lake (in background) behind Little Crystal Lake.

View of Crystal Lake (in background) behind Little Crystal Lake.

Lawn Lake from the north

Lawn Lake from the north

The extra 500 ft elevation at the lakes provide a beautiful view back toward Lawn Lake.  Being late summer, you can see that the water level is somewhat down.   However, the high water mark you can see in the picture is from long ago when a crude dam was constructed to make this a reservoir for farmers down the mountain.  The dam was was not properly maintained and is now gone.  Crystal Lakes are much smaller and packed tightly into a cirque on the side of Fairchild Mountain.  Being unable to back up much to get more of the lakes into the picture results in a very incomplete view of the beauty I found.  I’ll have to remember to take a wider angle lens with me next time.  (Although, carrying a D4 body, 24-70 lens, a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Head and a Gitzo GT3541XLS Tripod up has me pretty much at my carrying capacity!).  So, I completed this 16 mile Trek and felt I had a little gas left in the tank.  However, I realize two things: One, I need to increase my effort in preparation as this does not equate to Long’s Peak in effort.  Longs is a shorter hike, but another 2,000 ft in elevation gain.  Two, I read that the views from The Saddle are beautiful and that you can see Laramie, Wyoming from there.  With that as motivation I will make it my next step toward getting back to summit Long’s for the fourth time.

Improving Photography Skills

Recently I’ve had a number of people asking me a variety photography questions so I thought I would share some thoughts, photography sites and a question with you.  To keep improving your photography skills you need to do a few things.  You need to shot more (duh!), read more and look at great shots by other photographers.  Now, I read a large number of photo blogs weekly.  I had started putting them on my Pinterest site a while back, but didn’t keep up with it.  After this post, I’m going to try to start updating it.  That way, if you want to see what I’m reading, you will be able to access it from there.  I also maintain a number of boards there that concern photography that you might find useful to follow.  Check out some of the blogs I read and find someone that ‘speaks to you’ and start reading them as often as possible (because I guarantee that they write much better than I).  With that in mind, I just ran into a couple of new (to me) sites today that you should check out.  I love Scott Kelby’s photo books. He’s a great, easy to read, humorous photography writer.  He also has a number of great web sites.  I just found out about a brand new one of his.  It’s a weekly 15 minute video called Photography Tips & Tricks.  It’s loaded with quick and dirty ‘howtos’.  Now some of these may be a little advanced for you, but then you might get exposed to things you didn’t know your camera could do.  I also encourage you to have a look at his Digital Photography Book Series.  They’re full of great tips and tricks, and are easy to understand.  Kelby has many other video productions to check out, here’s a page that lists all of the free ones: KelbyTV.

Now, if you find you’re getting serious about taking your photography to the next level it might be time to come to grips with the second half of photography: Editing.  To get better pictures, you’ve spent $1000+ on your camera, but how about the editing?  What you use to organize, store and edit your pictures is at least as important (if not more) than your camera.  The good news is you don’t have to go out and spend $600 dollars on Photoshop.  You can buy the new Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 11 for under a $100 bucks.  For the photographer you will find that it does almost everything you want to do.  What it doesn’t do, most photographers either don’t use or very seldom need.  But, there’s a piece of software out there that was developed specifically for us Photographers!  It’s  Adobe’s Lightroom.  I and most all of my Photo buddies use it.  It’s a little more expensive ($115), that’s only $15 bucks more!  And, I believe, much easier to use.  Now for my question I promised at the beginning.  I’ve been thinking about teaching several workshops on setting up and using Lightroom, but I don’t know if there’s enough interest out there or not. I was thinking of running four, two hour workshops over a series of four weeks.   If you might be interested in such a workshop could you let me know?  If I get enough responses I certainly will be motivated to put them on!

Best Shot, Self Portrait?

This last weekend I was at the Breslin Center on the Michigan State University Campus to shoot High School State Basketballs Finals.  I was covering Flint Beecher as they took on Traversie City St. Francis.  Beecher led from tip off to buzzer to capture the State Championship Trophy.  The Breslin is a beautiful venue to shoot at.  Great light, backgrounds and a target rich environment.  But it’s difficult to get into a great spot from which to shoot.  For the most part you had to pick and then hold a spot along one of the end lines of the court.  This was made difficult by the number of photogs, officials moving in front of you and video people competing for the same spots.  Also, each team had it’s cheerleaders and they took up one half of the end line.  In the post today, I’ve included two of my favorite shots from the game. So in the shot above of Emmanuel Phifer dunking the ball, I found my self on the wrong corner of the court.  If I would have been on the other side, the picture would be much more dramatic as Emmanuel’s face would be part of the picture expressing the effort and elation of the act!  However, I do like the looks on the faces of the Traverse City players on the bench.

In this second shot, Damon Sheehy of Traverse City St Francis is diving to recover a loose ball.  Flint Beecher had contested the ball full court for the entire game.  Traverse City had two well seasoned guards that brought the ball up the court successfully most of the time.  But the tactic largely prevented them from the ability to get into and run their offense very often.  Overall it was a great game to shoot with a lot of emotion during and at the end of the game.  The rest of my shots from the game can be seen on High School Sports Scene Web Site.

Now for the Self Portrait portion  of this blog post.  Most photographers love to take photos (as you would guess), but hate having to take a picture of themselves (self portraits).  Recently at the annual Gulf Photo Plus Conference in Dubai, three of the world’s photog Icons were put on the spot.  Lately, one  of the most popular events of the conference is a shoot out competition involving three top photographers.  This year David Hobby, Martin Prihoda and Gregory Heisler were the contestants.  Unlike years past, there task this year was a self portrait.  Each used a different technique to accomplish their task in just 20 minutes.  You can watch the video here of the competition. It’s fun to watch great minds going through the process of ‘creating’ an image.

Mission Espiritu Santo

Today we decided to explore a little of the history of Texas up by the city of Golaid.  A Spanish Mission has been ‘largely reconstructed’ their after years of allowing it to decay.  Historically, it was the source of much of the cattle industry in Texas as large numbers of them were needed in it’s heyday to support the community it created.  What follow are a few of the pictures I took there.