To hell You ride

“Rise early. Fix a time-table to which you must try to keep. One seldom regrets having made an early start, but one always regrets having set off too late; first for reasons of safety-the adage ‘it is later than you think’ is very true in the mountains-but also because of the strange beauty of the moment: the day comes to replace the night, the peaks gradually lighten, it is the hour of mystery but also of hope. Setting off by lantern-light, witnessing the birth of a new day as one climbs to meet the sun, this is a wonderful experience. ”   -Gaston Rebuffat, from On Snow and Rock, 1959

On a quick hit of a weekend trip things go by ever so quickly.  Simply getting the opportunity to take some shots amidst the chaos can be a challenge.  The ideal lighting disappeared hours ago and yet you remain half a day away from the golden hour, but you shoot anyhow in the dead of the day.

Had the camping not consisted of quite as much small batch CO whiskey as it did, an opportunity for some star shots was available. The milky way put on a show illuminating the valley, restricted only by the jagged outlines of the surrounding ridges.  It didn’t suck, at all….

Telluride in short.


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Super Cloudy, Super Moon, Super Creepy.

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water in one of her frozen states and my personal favorite, snow

Today I awoke to a white blanket of silence.  The precipitation was frozen and fresh, although I knew it wouldn’t stay this way for long given the rather warm temps.  Higher elevations and colder terrain would hold on to the snow, while the warmer earth would quickly melt it away.  Water is integral to life, today it went through several physical changes, I was lucky to take part.

drops of water fall from the sky, rain

water soaks into the earth, mud

eventually collecting enough to create reflections, puddle

water rushing to escape confines, explosion

water rushing to escape confines, explosion

water giving way to gravity and the course the earth provides, river

water flowing down towards fields, gardens and mouths, life

water frozen to steep mountains, chutes

yeah I love water, face shots

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Sprung has Spring

Warm sunny days and cool clear nights are the order as of late.  This means a transition from ski boots and pow turns to sneakers and single tracks. As resorts stop turning chairs for the snow loving crowds, many single tracks are dry months ahead of normal. Despite some decent spring skiing available taking in the sun on dry ground has taken priority.  Spring always seems to evoke change.  It can be as little as wanting to clean out your gear closet (my entire bedroom), rake up the yard (don’t have one and I’m not raking the neighbors) or simply continuing to fill your lungs with fresh air that doesn’t quite sting the nostrils like it did a few weeks back, change is happening.

A short hike towards lions head rock would serve as the entertainment for our afternoon.  Our cast was small consisting of Heather, Moo and myself.  We enjoyed a relaxed pace taking in the experience and discussing what could be cooked for dinner.

Approaching our high point for the day a swift breeze carried the scent of green as it struck us head on.  The rhythm of my heart slowed as I began to look around and take in the view, each beat seeming to slow more as I sink into relaxation.  Looking left the moon held court on one end of the horizon.

The moons illuminator, the sun, held down the other horizon while we stood in the middle taking in the show. It is quite interesting to see the difference in blue from one shot to the next.  I rotated slightly less than 180 degrees and no processing was applied to either image.  Just what the sensor of my 7d was able to record of the amazing range of color offered up by bluebird skies.

It is often joked that dogs out number people in mountain towns.  On any given walk, hike , bike ride or trip to the liquor store (I mean coffee shop) you are more likely to see a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 dogs to people.  Why not?  They love being outside, are attention whores, like to run until they drop, pee on everything they can and wag their tails as much and as vigorously as possible. They actually get bonus points if you can hear their tail smashing into things, I think dogs might be on to something.

The breeze was relentless enough that seeking a bit of shelter allowed further relaxation. The lee slope proved perfect with sun warmed rocks for lounging. The textures surrounding us were captivating.  This warm rock invited me to get close with the lens.  I was intrigued by the texture, not overly impressed with my outcome.  I might explore textures and macro down the road.

As the warm sun began her curtain call the walk home commenced.  The weather is calling for more change in the air over the next few days.  A cold front could bring clear skies followed by a shot of precipitation, will we even see some white?  I know I wouldn’t mind.  I thank you for visiting my blog and for the support.


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I’m goin’ to Jackson

A while back the idea was mentioned to take part in a storm that was going to leave Jackson soft and deep.  The proposition barely had time to resonate in our powder choked minds before bags and base layers were flying around the house.  We quickly packed the car up and began the journey to Wyoming.  The excitement to explore a new area was overwhelming as the desolate terrain passed beneath the Blizzacks. We punched it toward the Wyoming border as gummy worms and coffee kept us fueled.

Good times? Check.

Covering ground is easier during the day light hours as wildlife is abundant after dark.  As the mountains grow larger on the horizon the excitement begins to brew within.  The possibility to explore a new place while the snow was soft and plentiful had us rowdy, fired up and pinning it towards the Tetons.

When you hit the road…

The Tetons are a large and expansive range surrounded by relatively flat terrain.  Each new peak that your eyes pass over seems to reach higher towards the heavens and with a greater pitch than the previous giant. It would be near impossible not to feed off the energy that seems to pour out in abundance around here.

The Grand Teton is a simply stunning mountain. Monolithic and photogenic yet elusive due to her commonly clouded summit, the magnetism and power is undeniable.  Although we wouldn’t be on our skis anywhere near the Grand, simply gazing upon the intricate terrain seems to fuel the soul.

The turns at the resort were perfect. Really. We didn’t see a touch of hard pack, just seemingly hero snow coated on every aspect of Jackson Hole.  The experience of having the entire mountain going off at once aligning with my first time skiing in a new location was overwhelming.  It’s as if everything, or anything is possible.  I feel lucky to have scored JH let alone on my first trip.

Sleeping Indian

During one of many stops to attain different vantages of the grand I asked Abby to pose for a photo with the grand.  As I lined up the shot she screamed a howl of excitement that signaled something special.

Over there!

Pointing towards the flat frozen plain Abby spots something that looks wolf like.  Our attention switched in the opposite direction, apparently the dogs attention had already switched.  Locked on the target Zion practically tried to stare his way out of the car.

Zion locked on the grey wolf

I was surprised that upon further investigation what Abby saw was a grey wolf.  Two grey wolves in fact that were roaming the flat lands of Teton National Park and hunting for critters below the heavy snow pack.

looking for dinner

The wolf would casually stroll, sniffing following a scent along the snow.  Then as if achieving missile lock it would stand upon the hind legs, lift the front paws off the ground and pounce.  Slamming the front paws deep into the snow and brining up prey.

Spending some time watching this animal in the wild was amazing.  We were also fortunate enough to see a Bald Eagle, countless Elk, Deer and something resembling a cat that given the hour of the night and hours driven well we couldn’t quite confirm or agree upon it’s species.  What we could agree upon was the beyond exceptional skiing combined with the experience as a whole, taking in both mountains and wildlife.

The Grand cloaked in clouds

Sadly Jackson Hole closed for the season April 8th despite a 94″ base.  Until next time…


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The Slow Lane

“Time sure passes quickly in the slow lane.” Abs Porter

Time seems to be charging full speed ahead.  I have had great powder days at the resort, chased snow up to Jackson, Pow turns in the back country, friends that are more like family visiting, countless face shots, lines skied, indulgent meals and smiles.  Life has been filled with wonderful things and people as of late.  All of this has me thinking about the statement Porter made.  When the best experiences, people or generally the most amazing times of your life are the moments that you exist within; time speeds up.  Spring is here and the turns have gone from pow to corn, but the reward remains the same.


Breaking trail for some friends

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Color and Light

the sun is shining

With the sun shining and no wind to be found today was dedicated to exploring color and light.  The sun and the moon have always been points of fascination for me, moon was actually the first word that I spoke.  With the bus for being an astronaut forgetting to pick me en route to space camp, left is my passion for capturing photos of the sun, moon and stars.

My day began like most others.  I packed my car and headed for the mountain, this time photo gear would fill the pack and exposures would take priority over vertical feet skied. In fact I only skied 11k and felt just fine with my decision.

I began with the exploration of some Aspen glades.  The stark white color of the Aspens bark leaving a vivid contrast against the brazen blue Colorado sky.  I enjoy the odd view from the glade.  Usually if things are going well when skiing trees you are looking down the fall line, not up towards the heavens.  The opportunity to stop and take in the scenery can slip away during a powder feeding frenzy and happens to me more than I would like to admit. I am quite sure that I have alienated almost every one of my friends during a storm day, “no friends on a powder day” is the old adage.  I will save this for another rant, especially as my attitude slowly changes towards the experience as a whole.

where you going?

Cruising some 10,000 plus feet above me a Jet Liner heads West towards the sun.  I couldn’t imagine needing to transport myself anywhere other than where I stand.  Photo shoots that involve entertaining modes of transportation tend to increase the excitement level.  Skis, boats, surfboards, bikes, long board skates, they all increase the adventure level of the process.

wind and color in motion

While blue remains my favorite color I decided that I needed to mix it up a bit, so in search of color I departed the Aspen glades.  I found myself exploring Vail Village.  Any tourist whom has looked for information or perhaps a parking spot has seen this piece of art.  With a dizzying array of color and motion I remained captivated for several exposures.  I found myself deep in conversation with Bob from the Vail information desk.  Bob was fascinated with the camera man roaming around town in ski boots, and held quite a passion for photography himself. Yet another example of the warm and welcoming people that populate the area, thanks for the conversation Bob.

The downtime from slaying pow has allowed exploration.  I’ve spent time searching out new lines, hidden stashes and places to get away from the masses on a busy day. Hopefully this knowledge will come in handy sooner than later. The forecast is calling for a small amount of snow overnight.  Perhaps this will lead me back towards pow skiing, one can only hope.


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