Monday, June 23, 2008

The New Camera

I've been lugging around my new pet all week, getting ready for Europe. While this post is hardly unified, here is a selection of my better work from around Downtown.

We had another glorious thundercloud the other day, lurking off over the plains. The lightning was going off all over the massive cloud, but I only got ONE picture of the phenomenon. Every other bolt happened when my shutter was closed. Lucky me though, this was the second to last shot before I filled up the memory card!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Art Market

Last weekend was the annual Art Students League Summer Art Market. This was the second year in a row my mom exhibited her paintings there. It can be pretty intense with the heat, the crowds, and the sheer artiness of it all, so I came along to lend a helping hand.

Growing up with an artist mother, I suppose I have had an inside track for art appreciation. Being surrounded by so much art, some good and some bad, certainly made for an interesting weekend. While I wouldn't want to do it every weekend, I have already volunteered for next year! I made a few acquisitions myself, buying a Crimean seascape, a Kyoto street scene, a Mexican sunset, and a Colorado owl. My aprtment is looking more and more international by the minute!

The market also provided a good proving grounds for my D-80, giving me a chance to break in the camera a bit more and learn what button does what.

My Aunt flew in from Hawaii to help mom at the show, or should I say she sneaked in from Hawaii, as nobody knew she was coming. Well, nobody knew but her mole on the inside...

She was a big help at the market, and of course it is always nice to see family!

The artist in front of some of her works. The geese in the background are based off of one of my own photos, something I am inordinately proud of.

With all the art watching and people watching, my sister dropped by to the market twice, and even posed for me!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flowers, Foxes and Fritz

My mother keeps a very beautiful garden, and early June is pretty perfect flower time around Denver. I got some nice pictures of the garden last week. Little did I know that they would be the last photos taken with my venerable D-50.

I like the bee in this one, he looks like he is in heaven!

A den of foxes lives in the area, and the family dog, Fritz loves barking at them and smelling their foxy home. Being urban foxes, they are fairly bold around humans, and I got pretty close in my car do get this shot.

These last two photos are the first D-80 shots to be presented, mostly me messing around with the camera and learning which button does what, as well as playing around with the extra zoom on the kit lens.

I can't include of photo of Fritz's nemesis without a photo of Fritz himself. This is one of him chasing a soccer ball that is larger than his head!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Indian Peaks

Last weekend was a glorious June weekend, perfect for a stroll in the Rocky Mountains. Dad and I went hiking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, a collection of high peaks along the continental divide above Boulder.

The day couldn't have been better for hiking, clear and warm without being too hot. It is still early in the season though, and while there was much less snow than there has been, there were still some pretty big drifts at the higher elevations.

With such nice weather the snow was pretty busy melting, and in some spots the trail was less a path and more a small lake. As the day went on, the area got wetter and wetter, and I learned that after a decade of use my totally broken hiking boots aren't quite waterproof anymore. Alas.

Damp feet aside, it really was the perfect way to spend a Saturday. As the weather gets warmer and the hills get greener, I am feeling better about being in the area. I thank my lucky stars that Denver has such low humidity!

In other news, I broke down today and got a new camera. While the pictures on this page prove that my D-50 is a good as ever, I've been on the lookout for both a new and improved lens and camera body lately. After much soul searching and review watching, I settled on the Nikon D-80. It is an older camera, only a bit newer than my model, but it is a bit higher on the food chain technology wise while still coming in at a price point I can afford. I wish it was a D-300, but I don't have $1,700 to spend on a camera body. I also picked up an 18-135 mm zoom, which gives me a bit more reach from the 18-55 that I have been using, and is a sharper, better lens. (Europe here I come!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

21 DPD

It's been a while since I did much with HDR images, so I decided to give a few of my sunset/ thunderhead shots the treatment. While I shot a couple of multiple exposures, my lack of a tripod combined with the ever moving traffic and clouds has led to some pretty unexceptional shots. Luckily, I was shooting RAW, and while you cant quite make a true HDR out of a RAW file, you can certainly make a good go of it.

21 DPD is a reference to Days Prior to Departure, office jargon that we use to keep track of when our customer's tours are taking place. My tour is now 21 DPD, so I am off to Europe in a mere three weeks. Color me excited. I had hoped I would be taking a new camera with me, but perhaps it is best that I am bring my trusty Nikon D-50. It may be an older model, but I know its features and functions pretty well, and I should focus on taking great pictures, not learning a new camera. Though I wouldn't mind learning how to use a new camera...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Class Three

The Customer Service department was rewarded for beating our insurance sales goal 5 weeks early with a half day of white-water rafting! Our day of fun on the water was originally scheduled for Thursday, but that day dawned wet and cold, more suitable for early November than early June.

Luckily, the unpredictability of Colorado weather paid off big time and Friday was glorious, sunny and warm, a perfect day for rafting. After a mere two hours of work, we were whisked up to Idaho Springs for a trip down Clear Creek, which parallels Interstate- 70 as it travels towards Denver. We rode the beginners section, which had nothing more dangerous than a class three rapid.

While the rapids weren't all that big, they were certainly big enough for us beginners, and they provided quite the thrill. Everybody had a smashing good time, even Bobby, who fell in the 40 degree water (but who was pulled right back out!). Indeed, some of the attendees are already discussing a trip down the intermediate stretch of the river...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Yesterday evening saw a tremendous thunderhead form over eastern Denver. I noticed it on my way home, and luckily I had my camera with me. The epic cloud was a seething mass of rising and falling air, and you could see it change dramatically from moment to moment, a real testament to the power of weather. While I perched on the roof of a parking garage, I turned my eye westwards as well for a few shots of the setting sun.