Tag Archives: mountains

Loveland Pass, Colorado – Top of The Continental Divide

As I stated last week, my wife and I were in Colorado for the first week of July. We were there to support our daughter by taking care of our granddaughter during the day for mom. Our daughter is in charge of shooting a multi episode show with her production company filming crew. Most of the filming was in and around an old historic mining town and it entailed long days for them. She and her husband had just gotten back from Europe and she didn’t want another week of missing her daughter. We gladly said we’d be more than happy to help out and it gave us the opportunity to show our granddaughter our old stomping grounds. We moved from the Denver area 30 years ago this fall to San Diego, so we welcomed the opportunity to spend some time in an area we love.

This weeks post is number 2 of 3 from Colorado. Last week was focused on the Lake Dillon area just west of the continental divide, with this week being Loveland Pass which goes over the continental divide. Heading west from Denver when we arrived, we followed Interstate 70 winding through the front range going to the Eisenhower Tunnel (under the continental divide) coming out to the valley with Lake Dillon as featured last week. This week finds us heading back to the Denver area, but going over Loveland Pass which is the pass above the Eisenhower Tunnel. We thought it would be something our granddaughter would enjoy as it is so different than anything she has experienced (our granddaughter is still talking about the mountain she went to the top of when she was in Colorado).

Loveland Pass 1

The highway winds its way up the western slope of the Continental Divide, climbing in altitude and bringing you above tree-line as you approach the pass. Tree-line in this part of the Rockies is approximately 11,500ft /3,500m.

Loveland Pass 2

As we wind our way near the pass, we have just climbed above the tree-line when i stopped to take this picture…please note the blue sky and puffy white clouds as I look west back towards the area we came from.  I point this out as you will see dark storm clouds as my shots rotate to the east towards Denver (again typical afternoon thunderstorms for this time of year).

Loveland Pass 3

We arrive at Loveland Pass elevation 11,990ft / 3,655m to a crowd of folks enjoying the serenity and beauty of the 360 degree panorama. This capture is looking generally north. Please note the hiking trail as both sides of the highway have them leading to trails accessing the summits of nearby mountain peaks.

Loveland Pass 4

Looking slightly northwest as you see one of the trails wind its way across the top of the peaks.

Loveland Pass 5

This shot shows the parking lot and the hiking trail from the last picture. I added it because (and I get it’s hard to see) if you look at the ridge-line of the peak to the left of the obvious group of people going up the trail, you will see a few heads of hikers that are traversing this summit heading to the very top point.

Loveland Pass 6

This is the part of the Continental Divide that the Eisenhower Tunnel goes through………

Loveland Pass 7

This is the trail on the other side of the highway where I was taking pictures from. See the difference in the sky? This is looking southwest towards Colorado Springs along the base of the Rockies south of Denver….looks like they are getting some rain.

Loveland Pass 8

This is a capture of the west side of the pass and the highway we will be taking down to rejoin Interstate 70 heading into Denver. This is looking towards Denver and it looks like they are getting some rain also.

Loveland pass 9

As we wind our way back towards tree line, I took this shot of the Loveland Ski area. It starts down by the Eisenhower tunnel and has ski slopes carved into the thick forest at lower elevations and also has runs above tree-line. Since it’s quick and easy to access from Denver, we spent many a day off skiing here.

Next week I’m going to post a blog highlighting downtown Denver. For most of the week we were staying in the mountains just west of Denver proper, but we did spend the last two days in downtown proper. Denver has a very dynamic downtown and has done an incredible job creating a true living/working core to this great city (ok, I’m biased…but it really is cool).

Thoughts?

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Abstract Sunrise and Sunsets – Featured Art Prints

I have been working on a project for a client encompassing abstract sunsets and now sunrises. I am featuring three of my most recent art prints, two are with the sunsets and the third is the first of some sunrises. I featured the first three sunsets I created for the project last September in two different posts. One featuring a lighthouse and another a sailboat and then the post about our moving back to Southern California, leaving the Arizona desert behind, which was a group of Saguaros in the desert at sunset.

If you follow my blog you will remember that the move was precipitated because our granddaughter and her parents were expecting a little brother for her….which fast forward…happened this last week. Our grandson was born last Monday 10 days early and when he decided he wanted to come into the world…he wasted no time…very quick delivery. Mom, Dad and grandson are doing great as are his grandparents.

So back to the project, I had a client who wanted a series of abstract sunsets and sunrises done in this abstract style with a variety of subject matters. From my moving post, I put eyes and smiles on the cactus, which prompted a comment from one of my blog followers (yes, Brad that was you!!) about using them in a children’s book. At the time I had actually just finished a children’s book, which I wrote for my granddaughter and had my niece (great artist) illustrate it. I casually mentioned Brad’s comment to a source who helped me with the first book and they encouraged me to pursue it. So, as I complete the initial request, I am already planning on what “tweaks” I want to make and how that would fit in a children’s book. So, more on that as I go forward, but more importantly I wanted to thank Brad for his comment and let him know how it is being played forward (the power of positive input).

With these three, the first one is Serengeti Sunset with a group of giraffes on the Serengeti at sundown. With the sun on the horizon, I chose to stay close to primary colors creating a bold look, but darkened and softened the orange and yellow as they pulled up and down from the horizon line. I did the three giraffes in black silhouette to complete the look of this abstract representation. The digital drawing of the silhouette figures in all three prints looks simple, but trust me the drawing is very tedious and time consuming done digitally (if only I had the drawing gift free hand).

The next art print called Mountain Sunset is done using the same general technique with the bright primary colors filling the sky.

The third one is done using the same concept, but to depict a sunrise, I changed the sky to blue to create a different look. This one features Flamingos feeding under palm trees.

Thoughts?

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Wenatchee River, Washington – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

For the weekend of March 10th, as a Christmas gift to the family, one of our daughters put together a family getaway weekend. The location she chose was up in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle (two of our three daughters and their husbands live in the Seattle area – the other daughter who put this together, her husband and our granddaughter live in the Los Angles area and my wife and I live in the Phoenix area). She chose a location near Stevens Pass (spring skiing) and just outside of Leavenworth, Washington (Leavenworth is a Bavarian village featuring great German food, beer gardens and wine tasting from nearby wineries). The location of the house we stayed in is the subject of this weeks post.  The house was located along the Wenatchee River which flows down from the pass area into the eastern side of the Cascades. Most of the river is white water rapids, but the portion of the river where the house was located is just upstream from a small dam. The dam backed up this portion of the river into what looks like a still water pond. The house was perfect with floor to ceiling glass windows allowing the views I posted to be seen throughout most of the house.

Wenatchee River One

This first capture is straight across the river looking at a cabin in the woods on the other side (all it missed was smoke curling up from the chimney). The water appears very calm, but  is actually flowing at a fairly rapid pace. Loved the reflection on the water.

Wenatchee River Two

This is just a close up of the cabin across the river…..

Wenatchee River Three

Standing in the same location as the first two shots, this is looking to my right up-stream along the river. If you could zoom in on the river where the green reflection ends, you would see white water rapids as the water flows into this calmer portion. We could hear the sound of the rapids from our location.

Wenatchee River Four

This is a cabin located downstream from the house….thought it had that great cabin in the woods look…from this perspective the river is reflecting the white snow of the hillside across from us.  Thoughts?

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Mount Shasta – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

I was on a quick two day road trip this week with my son-in-law traveling from Phoenix to Seattle. We had a short time frame to meet, so we had two very intense driving days to get up to Seattle (the good news for me, I flew back to Phoenix, so only had the drive one way). Anyone that follows my blog knows that I never go anywhere without my camera….you just never know!!

Because we had such a tight timeframe, there really wasn’t much opportunity to stop and take pictures, but I was able to grab some shots of Mt Shasta when we stopped for breakfast in Mount Shasta, California. With the amount of moisture that has been hitting the western US (much needed for California), the amount of snow on Mt Shasta was incredible, as you can see by the pictures. Tidbits about Mt Shasta: It is a volcano that sits on the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range in Northern California and has an elevation of 14,179 ft. It last erupted in 1786.

Upon arriving back home and reviewing the shots, I thought that part of the series I hurriedly took would make a great example of framing a shot either while you are taking a picture or afterwards if you have the right software.


Mount Shasta One

Mount Shasta One

This first capture I created using the zoom feature of my lens to frame the shot. I was standing in a parking lot right outside of the restaurant.

Mount Shasta Two

Mount Shasta Two

This capture gives you the look and feel of what I was actually seeing in my line of site…..again, the first shot was my zoom lens framing the shot above the Shell gas station (notice the tree branches that were in the first shot).

Mount Shasta Three

Mount Shasta Three

Another approach if you don’t have a strong zoom lens or just didn’t use it, is this method. This capture is from the second shot….I cropped it in Photoshop to eliminate the “street noise” of the other picture.

I think both methods created the final image that I was looking for. Thoughts?


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Rattlesnake Ledge – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

I love to hike and since it’s summer here in the desert, hiking is limited due to the heat. We are headed up to Seattle this weekend for a visit with our youngest and her fiancé. The trip will include wedding dress shopping for the ladies and hiking for the guys (camera in hand always). One of my favorite hiking trails is Rattlesnake Ledge. The trailhead is located by Rattlesnake Lake not to far from North Bend, Washington. I love the sheer beauty of the Central Cascades and this trail certainly contains that. I have attached three shots from a hike a few years back that will give you an idea what I am talking about.

The first shot is the beginning and the end of the trail. Look down at the lake and you see the parking lot? That is where the trailhead starts. A couple of hours and about a 1200 foot elevation gain and you are on these rocks over-looking the lake. The ledge itself is much larger than depicted in this picture with numerous rock formations like this around the ledge. All told there has always been about 50+ people on the ledge whenever I have been there and yes, it’s busy with people, but not crowded.

Rattlesnake Ledge 1

Rattlesnake Ledge 1


The other two shots come from viewpoints along the way. Your hike is mostly in dense forest, with an occasional viewpoint as you make your way up. Stunning country and a beautiful hike.

Rattlesnake Ledge 2

Rattlesnake Ledge 2

Rattlesnake Ledge 3

Rattlesnake Ledge 3

Thoughts?


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Sun in the Forest – Featured Art Print

This week I’m featuring a print from a series in my Landscape Oil Gallery. The art print is titled: Sun in the Forest. The setting is a forest in the Cascade Mountain Range where the tree canopy creates a natural barrier to direct sunshine. Then suddenly you see it, a shaft of bright sun piercing the canopy and illuminating the undergrowth of the forest floor. The suggestion of birch trees frames the scene and adds depth to the setting. To recreate this scene, I used a gothic oil technique that I like as it uses warm earth tones and bold brush strokes creating an old world look to the art print.

Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Landscape Oil Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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Mountain Meadow Lake – Featured Art Print

Today’s featured art print is titled: “Mountain Meadows”. It is a new addition to my Abstract Watercolor Gallery. I chose an abstract approach to a landscape scene to soften the look of the final piece. I used muted colors and strong suggestive lines to create the framework of the scene.

Mountain Meadow Lake

Mountain Meadow Lake

At first glance, you may not be too sure just what you are looking at, but then you recognize the suggestive outlines of hills, trees and grass. You see a smooth area, which you now see as a lake or pond. Your eye is pulled into the print trying to figure it out. The abstract approach creates some different elements in a print. It uses a different methodology presenting a picture. If it were a true impressionistic approach, the shapes and colors are more about evoking a response or an emotion versus portraying accurate detail. I like that approach with free form shapes and bold colors. Another approach to abstract art prints is a subtler look such as the featured art print. A specific scene is being depicted but without the detail found in a photograph or a typical art print. It is more suggestive of the subject matter letting your mind fill in the blanks.

I have two abstract galleries, one done in oil techniques and one done using watercolor techniques. They both use the same basic premise, but the results are different because the elements are created in two distinctly different ways. The oil techniques typically produce bolder, stronger looks and the watercolor techniques create softer looks using more subtle methods. They both have their place in an interior design depending on the look you are going for. Thoughts?

 

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the addition of art prints to the collection in Abstract Watercolor Gallery.

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Desert Sunrise – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Last week early one morning and I mean early one morning, I walked out onto our patio, coffee mug in hand. I was ready to sit down and enjoy my coffee as the sun was just starting to lighten up the sky. Our patio faces the eastern sky, so I was looking up expecting clear skies (it is the desert), but instead saw a lot of high-level clouds. (I’m sure you’re thinking “thanks for the weather report Kirt, but really…) The clouds caught my attention because I know that these types of clouds can make a spectacular sunrise or sunset depending on which is happening. Our area is straight west of a mountain range, so our sunrises are more impressive coming over the mountains. I knew I didn’t have much time; so coffee cup gets sat down, I go screaming into the house to grab my camera and dart out to hike up a hill nearby for some cool shots. I didn’t have time to grab my tripod because at this point the sky was changing already into an incredible display of color. The change to the coloring is ongoing and fast as I get up the hill and get my camera ready for some spectacular shots. I position myself and start taking shots…nothing happens…huh? Thought I had turned it on…check again (which means reading glasses back out), yes it’s turned on, but display is blank…..dead battery. I forgot I had been downloading pictures from my camera into my computer a few days back and obviously left the camera on. Knowing that I didn’t have time to get back to the house for the other set (I always have a backup charged and ready), I reverted to my iPhone. The iPhone takes decent enough shots, but not as clear as I would have gotten with my camera. That said, I still wanted to share some of those shots from the sunrise. What I love about a sunrise or sunset is the coloring changes as you watch. I’ve attached a couple of them from that morning so you could see some of the subtle changes.

Desert Sunrise 1

Desert Sunrise 1

The first shot is soon after I realized my camera batteries were dead. I started with a wider angle to get an overall look of the desert and the mountains in the east.

Desert Sunrise 2

Desert Sunrise 2

The second shot is zoomed in a little tighter. Notice the slight color change…just a little brighter orange as the sun has moved further up behind the mountain.

Desert Sunrise 3

Desert Sunrise 3

The third shot shows the sky just before the sun has peaked over the top of the mountains. The color is becoming brighter and the hues have changed slightly. As I waited a minute for the next shot, I looked to my right and noticed the color explosion on the next shot….

Desert Sunrise 4

Desert Sunrise 4

With the fourth shot, the sun is just about up and the light is reflecting off of some high level rain that is dropping from some clouds south of me.

Desert Sunrise 5

Desert Sunrise 5

The last shot is that same view and the sun has broken the horizon. Notice the change from orange to yellow.

All of these shots were taken within 4-5 minutes all total, that’s how quickly the colors change. Once the sun came up, the dance of color in the clouds quickly disappeared. Thoughts?

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Clouds and Mountains – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This week I had an opportunity for a photo shoot within a block of home. We live near the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range just outside of Phoenix. Whenever we get “weather”, often times there are very interesting cloud formations that appear over the range. Well, Monday morning was just such an event. Unfortunately it was a record rainfall for the Phoenix area, most in one day. Being on the side of the city we are, we had the rain first and then it moved over the rest of the metropolitan area. The rain subsided in our area while the city was still getting heavy amounts. I took that opportunity to hike up a hill nearby and point my camera at the mountain range. I have attached some shots from that shoot. What occurred to me as I was shooting; when is it best to go with a wide angel shot or zoom in?

When you are taking scenery or landscape shots, often times if you shoot too wide, you lose the effect you were looking for. Unless you are intentionally going for the panorama frame, you have to be careful how much you include. Think about any pictures you have taken of a gorgeous mountain range only to see the finished product and it doesn’t look as dynamic as it was in person. To compensate for this, you can frame just portions of the view into a shot or use a zoom lens to pull the subject closer in. The zoom lens also plays with the field of depth making the subject look closer.

The next thing to think about, what are you trying to portray? What story do you want to tell with your picture? Often times the answer will tell you whether you are going to stay wide or focus in.

Clouds and Mountains 1

Clouds and Mountains 1

Let’s look at the attached shots. (Disclaimer: these shots are straight from my photo shoot without cropping or other cosmetic touch ups) The first one gives you a wide-angle look at a part of the mountain range. You have the houses in the foreground, but the shot encompasses enough that you see a layer of low hanging clouds enveloping the mountains. The peaks that can be seen are only the foothills; there are 4500 ft. peaks behind them covered by the clouds. The city of Phoenix is on the other side of the mountain range.

Clouds and Mountains 2

Clouds and Mountains 2

The second shot is angled just slightly to my right giving you more of the mountain range. These two shots are not pristine (houses in foreground), but do tell a story of low hanging clouds creeping over a mountain range.

Clouds and Mountains 3

Clouds and Mountains 3

For the third shot, I haven’t moved, but zoomed in with my telephoto lens. I have framed the foreground of houses out of the picture and captured less of the mountain range, but still tell a story of storm clouds creepy over a mountain. Notice I said mountain and not mountain range, because that aspect has changed.

Clouds and Mountains 4

Clouds and Mountains 4

For the fourth shot, I have zoomed in more to focus on that particular patch of clouds as it hugs the side of the mountain. Notice how the story is slightly different as the perspective of the shot changes.

Clouds and Mountains 5

Clouds and Mountains 5

The fifth photograph is very close to the fourth, just tighter focus on the clouds hugging the side of the mountain.

I just wanted to give you some things to think about and some examples when shooting landscapes and scenery shots. Depending on what story you want to tell, when is it better to keep the shot wider and when to tighten in. Notice I haven’t said which is better or which is correct, because again, it depends on what story you want to tell. That said, for the purpose of this shoot, I prefer number two even with the houses in the foreground because it tells more of the story I was trying to tell. And with Photoshop, those houses can become cactus easy enough 🙂 Thoughts?

 

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Pine Forest – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

Pine Trees 1

Pine Trees 1

The excerpts from a photo shoot I want to share today are from a picnic lunch we had with some friends last weekend. As I always travel with my camera, I was ready for these shots. We had traveled Saturday morning to watch a scrimmage football game by Arizona State University. The facility they have been using is a camp nestled in a pine forest away from campus and the city. With the heat here in Phoenix this time of year this certainly makes more sense for the players. The drive doesn’t take that long and before you know it, you have climbed in elevation, the desert is behind you and pine trees are everywhere. After the scrimmage, we drove further up out of the valley into the mountains and found this spot to eat. The view was incredible, the food and company were great. It was nice to just sit and relax in conversation as gentle afternoon breezes blew through the pine trees.

This first shot is of the valley where we had just been. The area we had found had a small granite ledge that jutted out over the edge.

Pine Trees 2

Pine Trees 2

The second shot is from our picnic table looking through the trees towards the ledge in picture 1.

Pine Trees 3

Pine Trees 3

The third shot is the forest with the valley in the right of the frame. The lack of undergrowth in the woods was very different than what I was hiking in last year in the Cascades, but reminded us of the Colorado pine forests where we had lived many years ago. Obviously the rainfall is different between this part of the country and the Pacific Northwest. 🙂

So, this week, I’m just sharing some shots from my weekend, no words of wisdom or incredible insights….just enjoy the scenery!

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