The beauty around us
Thistle love …
A bumblebee forages for pollen near Frisco, Colorado.
Asters in the morning dew.
FRISCO —Taking closeups with an iPhone camera — at least without a supplemental lens — isn’t always easy. The camera tends to want to zero in on something other than the subject, like the grass or shrubs in the background. But with some careful consideration to lighting, specifically the contrast between the subject and the background, I sometimes can make it work. Being able to capture sparkling morning dew on a bluebell, or a busy bee gathering food on a wildflower makes me happy. It’s like having a little miracle in the palm of my hand for a few moments, and it’s even better when I can share it with Summit Voice readers. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t forget to stop whatever you’re doing for a few moment to give thanks for all the beauty that surrounds us.
Provence light …
Evening dance at the Cafe de L’Univers in Brignoles, France.
Sunset in the square.
Morning light in Place Caramy.
The terrace awaits.
As a photographer, you can find good light almost anywhere in the world. But add in the charm of old, warmly painted buildings, the gleam of freshly washed cobblestones or the glow of evening streetlights in an ancient Provençal village, and it becomes pure magic. The small town of Brignoles isn’t a big tourist hotspot like nearby Aix en Provence, but it’s a great spot to hide out for a few days and settle into the rhythm of French life — early morning walks to a bakery for fresh baguettes and croissants, a mid-day Pastis under the awning, and an evening dance in the main square.
Up in the air …
Thick ice surrounds a jagged mountain range in south-central Greenland.
A slice of Iceland’s coast near Keflavik.
The Canadian Rockies near Kelowna, partially shrouded by pop-up clouds and haze.
The red-tiled roofs of Nice, France.
Fields and towns near Frankfurt, Germany.
FRISCO — I’ve loved flying ever since I can remember, partly because my dad was a pilot who always raved about the magic of breaking free of the bonds of gravity. Along with the freedom of soaring far from earthly troubles, there’s the added bonus of seeing the Earth from what is, for most people, a rare perspective.
For me, the thrill of looking down on familiar places from high above has never worn off, so when I get on an airliner, my heart always beats a little faster when the great jet engines roar to life on the runway. Flying in mid-summer is even better, because on the northerly transatlantic routes, it doesn’t ever get completely dark, so you have a chance to see a big slice of our incredible planet passing below.
And a couple of decades of practicing environmental journalism help provide a context for the views. Passing over Greenland, for example, and seeing the darkening snow is a reminder that our planet is melting down quickly, and seeing all the giant wind turbines in the German countryside shows that there is a way to avoid climate disaster, if we only get serious about choosing a renewable energy path.
Fireweed blooming along in the Rocky Mountains.
Morning light over Peak One.
South to west pano.
FRISCO —I made it out for an early morning photo sesh/dogwalk today, heading to one of my favorite wrinkled areas along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. This particular stretch of shoreline is notched by deep coves, which is good for photography, because you can find different vantage points, in relation to the water and the mountains, to make the most of the reflections, and using the vegetation along the water’s edge to help frame the scenes. Once again, I was struck by how fast our area’s lodgepole pine forests are regrowing after the pine beetle outbreak that move through the north-central Colorado mountains in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In places that were logged early, many of the new trees are already two- to four-feet tall and growing densely, just like the old lodgepole pine forest. This morning’s clouds, fueled with moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores, helped soften the light. Click on the images in this set to choose the full-size option, especially for the pano shot, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.
Morning dew sparkles on a patch of wild penstemon near Frisco, Colorado.
The arc of the stream …
Wildflowers along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.
FRISCO —Many of the vistas in the Colorado high country are so expansive that they’re hard to capture in a single frame without a good wide angle landscape lens. Mountains stretch across the horizon as far as the eye can see and tower up high into the sky. But there’s another option — some newer smartphone cameras feature a panorama option, which enables you to move the camera, in vertical mode, across the landscape. I’ve been exploring this feature the past couple of months, finding that, even without a tripod, you can do the scenery justice. Click on the images in this set and choose the full-size option to see the full-size panos, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.
At treeline …
Curtain of rain …
Delicate columbines thrive in the old mining dumps.
Arc of the river.
FRISCO — After a quick trip to Leadville, I turned off the highway at Mayflower Gulch to take the dogs for a short walk under building thunderstorms. As the thunder, hail and rain built in intensity, I almost jumped back in the car to head for Frisco, but I was glad I waited it out, because the storm passed pretty quickly. The short walk turned into a nice tundra jaunt. The sky stayed a bit on the gray side, which isn’t always the best for landscape shots, but it is good light for flower portraits, especially for the pale hues of the columbine, which can get lost against a bright background. What a great year for wildflowers! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.
Pass Lake panorama. early summer.
A brilliant sunset over Dillon Reservoir.
Summer wildflowers at Loveland Pass.
FRISCO —I’ve been working more on perfecting panoramic iPhone images, mainly by adjusting the speed of the pano sweep across the landscape, learning that, the slower you go, the more data the sensor captures, resulting in a sharper image. You can click a couple of times on any of these to see them full size.
Moving the camera at the same rate of speed is also important. If you slow down or speed up, it changes the light value, resulting in brighter or dimmer spots. Of course, keeping the horizon straight the whole time is also important, but even if you do, the movement tends to “bend” objects in the foreground. For example, straight logs laying perpendicular to the camera start to look curved. But used in the right way, the pano setting offers a nice alternative to a super wide angle lens, or to cropping standard size shots.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.