My Short Bucket List

December 31, 2014 by ·  

    I’m busting out a quick post to tell you that I have a bucket list. When I was a kid, the term “bucket list” did not exist. There were only things that we wanted to do and places we wanted to go before we died. Since then, Hollywood has told us to make a list of things we want to do before we kick the bucket; hence the term, bucket list.

    As I write this, I have less than one hour until 2015 crashes in so I have to be quick.
This is a very short list of some things I want to do before I die. It is not the complete list, just a few of them:

    1. Learn to use a bullwhip like Indiana Jones.

    2. Learn Spanish. Something I should have done whilst living in San Diego for 8 years.

    3. Go to Greece.

    4. Skydive.

    5. Learn to use a sword in the style of a light saber. Yeah, Star Wars is the greatest movie ever made.

    6. Write a novel.

    7. Write a screenplay.

    8. Publish all the photos on my blog into a book with paper pages.

    9. Get back on a motorcycle.

    10. Learn to fly a helicopter.

    11. Make a movie about my experience in Alaska.

    That’s it. Eleven things I want to do that I’m sharing with the world before the new year. Cheers!

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Christmas at Hudson Gardens

December 25, 2014 by ·  

Hudson Gardens Purple Tree At Christmas

Hudson Gardens At Christmas

    Last night was Christmas Eve 2014 so I went to Hudson Gardens to check out their Christmas lights. After a few years photographing the lights at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, freezing my ass off taking photos of lights in Historic Downtown Littleton and in Downtown Denver, I am a connoisseur of Christmas lights.

Hudson Gardens Christmas Lights On The Lake

Christmas Lights On The Lake

    This is the part where I ensure that Hudson Gardens will never retweet me or pay me to take photos of their place. I rode my bike along the South Platte River Trail to get there, locked it up on the west side of the gardens and then found myself unable to enter. I had a preprinted ticket in my pocket but the only way in was through the east side of the gardens, where the cars park. I wasn’t going to walk all the way around, so I just hopped the fence and went on about my business. I’m not saying you should sneak into Hudson Gardens in this manner, I’m just saying that I entered in this manner; with an $11 ticket in hand. I’m also saying that they should make their Christmas light show more bike trail accessible.

Reindeer At Hudson Gardens At Christmas

Reindeer At Hudson Gardens

    After I made my semi illegal entry into a venue I legally paid to enter, I just started taking photos. I was just being myself, making one lap with my camera in hand and then doing a second lap with my camera on a tripod. I think I may have the show Californication on the brain because it seemed to me that is was being chatted up and flirted with by more than one woman whilst I was trying to do my business of taking photos.

Christmas Trees At Hudson Gardens

Christmas Trees At Hudson Gardens

    Before I get ahead of myself by saying that I was recognized from my website let me say one thing; I was recognized by people that know me from my website. That doesn’t happen all the time; usually it’s only colleagues that recognize me when I’m covering a convention or an event. On this night I was just walking around taking photos, trying to keep my hands from sticking to my aluminum tripod in the freezing cold so it was neat to be recognized by a few people.

Christmas Lake At Hudson Gardens

The Lake At Hudson Gardens

    After consorting with my fans and posing for a few pictures I turned my attention back to the lights and my freezing hands. My particular style of photography is very tactile; I need to be able to feel buttons and turn dials in an uninhibited way so I never wear gloves whilst shooting. This was much easier to do when I was living on the beach in San Diego.

Santa at Hudson Gardens At Christmas

Santa At Hudson Gardens

    Anyway, I did a few laps and then headed home. As I write this, I’m enjoying Christmas Day with my family, waiting for an epic storm that will give Denver a white Christmas. It should be a blast. Cheers!

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Road Trip To Utah

December 22, 2014 by ·  


Ice On The Door

    Last week I took a road trip to Utah. I stayed in an area south of Salt Lake City and spent the bulk of my time right next to Salt Lake Temple, a glamorous Mormon Temple that was constructed over 120 years ago. I have no photos of the structure or the amazing Christmas lights that surround the area. I was working whilst there and the one night I had a chance to take photos I opted not to because, in my own words, it would have been too much of a bother. Over the six day span between Denver and Salt Lake City I took a total of 12 photos, two of which are in this post and neither of them were taken anywhere near Salt Lake City. I won’t lie; I am straight up ashamed of myself for not taking more photos or pressing myself to document a city I have never been to before. The two photos in this post are pathetic, mundane and ordinary. Above is a photo of the ice that formed on the door of the van I was in.


Sunset In Wyoming

    In a nutshell, we drove north out of Denver on I25 and then hung a left on I80 once we reached Cheyenne. The photo above was taken sometime before we made the turn to the west. At least, I think it was. I wasn’t driving or navigating but I can say for sure that I took this photo by pointing my camera out of the left side of the van. So, to the best of my recollection, and reconciling that with what I know about the rising and setting of the sun, I was traveling north when I took this shot. After that, I put my camera in a bag and didn’t take it out again until I got back to Denver. Cheers!

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Photographing the Sun

December 4, 2014 by ·  

Sunspots Nov 2014

Sunspots Over Denver

    Back in October I posted some photos of the partial solar eclipse the occurred over Denver. In that post I lamented not being able to capture the event very well because the sun is, duh, too damn bright. What I needed, and thus came to want(ed) was a neutral density filter; sunglasses for my camera. Guess what? I got one! Of course it’s been cloudy most days since I bought it but I’ve still managed to mess around with it a little.

    My camera has a cropped sensor so my 200mm lens gives me the reach of a 300mm lens on an actual 35mm camera. For the laypeople out there, my camera’s sensor is smaller than a 35mm negative by a factor of 1.5 so that smaller size gives me 1.5 times more reach than if I had a full size (35mm) sensor. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on what I’m trying to do. My cool 8mm fish-eye lens is not as wide as it should be because with my camera it shoots at 12mm. When aiming at the sun or birds of in the distance, my 55-200mm zoom gives me 100 extra millimeters on the far end (300mm). Are you still awake? Well, even if you are not, I’m going to continue.

    With the sun being so bright, even a neutral density filter needs help so the photo above was shot in a way that allowed the least amount of light to hit the sensor, whether the ND filter was in place or not. The same settings were used for the shot below during the eclipse; 1/4000th of a second, f/32 and an ISO of 100. Beyond that the only difference between the two is the ND filter, which lets less light pass through the lens and onto the sensor.

Solar Eclipse And Bird In Flight In Denver

Solar Eclipse Over Denver

    If you use your imagination, you can see where the moon is blocking the top portion of the sun but you might not see that if I didn’t tell you about it. At this point, the sun was very low in the sky which made for a very dramatic eclipse but still had me struggling to photograph it. The top photo was taken when the sun was a full two hours higher in the sky and yet you can see sun spots even a fleck of dust on my lens. The fleck I’m referring to is the big spot you see at the 8 o’clock position on the sun. Anyway, my point is that I’m pleased with this ND filter and once I’m done pointing it at the sky I’ll get to some slow shutter speed stuff of rivers and waterfalls. Bor-ing stuff. Cheers!

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