Guanella Pass, Colorado is one of my favorite areas during Autumn and I have been visiting for a few years now during that time of the year. I came pretty close last year with getting the shot that I wanted with this scene, but still, pre-dawn wind was an issue as it almost always is right before sunrise in Colorado, especially in the mountains. This year though? I completely lucked out and had just about none at all. I was pretty excited knowing that I could finally get the shot I have been chasing for so long. This is one of them. I hope you all enjoy it—-John
Yesterday morning I woke up at 3am and headed to Brainard Lake, Colorado to photograph the sunrise. It was absolutely invigorating and refreshing with temps at 40 degrees and the wind gusting hard over the Indian Peaks and across Brainard Lake. For a moment I had a reprieve from the gusts and got a somewhat clean wildflower shot with little movement in this 2 second exposure. It sure was gorgeous and the light just danced!
I want to emphasize something here to those of you who are just starting out with photography and want to get better. The biggest thing you can do is make the effort to shoot in good light & wake up at ungodly hours to get on location in time. There is something about photographing in fresh air with no noise pollution, no people and having some of the best light you can imagine. This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do to better your work and best of all it's 100% free! Can't beat that now can ya? ---John
Sony a550 Minolta 18-200 lens Fotodiox CPL, Grad ND, ND8 Tripod & wireless release
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs
Sometimes it pays to wake up early and get to the location you are shooting it. This was captured Saturday morning and boy this sunrise didn't disappoint! I was actually out to photograph birds but sometimes you have to change your focus (literally) Welcome to the last sunrise of March, 2012 at Chatfield State Park, Colorado.
I think the quote above really speaks volumes from Steve Jobs. We all run around looking for acceptance in our photography, we imitate other peoples styles and often times it emulates a sort of "cookie cutter style". Another pretty picture that is technically perfect, yet has no real sense of style which makes it unique among the sea of landscape photography. Lined all up together, it's is hard pressed to tell who shot what. Do what makes you happy, if you want to get creative then do it, don't listen to folks who say "no", follow your own path and you will find happiness in an artistic medium.
Golden Aspen trees reflect in a lake in rural Gilpin County, Colorado at the peak of Autumn. This was a really tough shot, perhaps one of the most challenging shots I have ever taken. The lighting was very tricky, changing by the second as was the reflection. With every little breeze, the reflection would completely disappear. The lighting would become very harsh and then the scene would go dark as clouds would roll over head. Patience pays off however and I think a lot seem to forget that and instead simply throw their arms up in the air and move on to a different location. Some things just take time and often we are rewarded greatly. ---John.
Photo thoughts--- It was so quiet that you never heard a thing except for the bugle of the Elk across the lake. Everything seemed to be at peace and at ease as I watched the sunrise along the shores of Lake Estes in Estes Park, Colorado this past Autumn. Tranquility in it's finest form with a cool very slight breeze to keep me company. The building in the background is the legendary Stanley Hotel, one of the most haunted places in America and where the book "The Shining" was written at. I imagine that the ghosts were probably sipping coffee and watching the amazing painted sky from it's deck and veranda. As I said in my previous post, this is where my heart belongs along with my creative spirit and I think you may understand why from this photograph of mine. ---John
Captured during wildflower season last summer along Boreas Pass, Colorado. Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in, admire your immediate surroundings and be thankful where you are at that moment with your camera. It sure is beautiful up here.....Captured as the light was dying and everything turned a brilliant gold and yellow. ---John
Regardless of what a lot of photographers say, there is a great deal of "luck" involved with getting a photo. I am not really sure if there is any greater luck than the weather itself. I only have control over my camera, things like fstop, exposure, shutter speeds, lenses, filters, deciding when to click the shutter. Often times I am presented with skies which are completely cloudless when I wanted clouds for instance and every once in awhile mother nature gives me something to where I am literally screaming at the sky in excitement.
Fog in Colorado is a very uncommon thing and for this, I just happened to pick the right place to have as a meeting point for the first day of our annual "Fall In Colorado Photo Meetup" this past Friday; the shores of Lake Estes in Estes Park. We were presented with a scene that was almost unworldly at times with the rising sun backlighting the fog and creating an almost surreal glow about it. I just wish we had weather like this a great deal more often! The title of the piece...it's breast cancer awareness month and the colors seemed to fit that quite well. ---John.
If you like it, feel free to share it! Just give me a link back is all I ask, thanks!
Featured & Published! My photograph here is published in the second issue of "Exposed Photography Magazine" [link] It has also been featured inside PhotoExtract.com [link]
A wallhanger! A few weeks ago I took advantage of Adorama's sale on large metallic prints and ordered up a 20x30 of this shot...all I can say is 'wow'. I\f you all wanted a print from me or ever thought about purchasing one of my images I have to say that this one makes a dang brilliant shot to hang! It isn't often I speak highly of my own work but this time with this shot? It's an exception. It really looks incredible printed large!
About the image--- Tranquility. It is one of the things I seem to chase after besides light a great deal when photographing. Smaller, more intimate scenes that I imagine many would otherwise look over. This spot has long been a favorite location of mine, there is just something about it. I have never really gotten a Fall photo though worth much though until this year. See, here in Colorado, just before sunrise (when I am often shooting) we have this thing we call "the solar mountain breeze (among other things depending on your level of frustration at the time lol) in which the breeze picks up. It usually starts 30 minutes before sunrise and can make shots like this next to impossible. I lucked out with it on the morning when I photographed this. Big time. It was completely still for once, with the gentle breeze only being caused from the water rushing by.
Technical stuff--- Sony a550, Minolta 18-200mm lens, stacked Fotodiox CPL and ND8, about 3.5 seconds at f14, tripod and wireless shutter release. Also anchored my backpack on the center column hook for more stability. Other than that?
Video of location I shot while photographing this--- I shot a quick little cell phone vid of us shooting this scene [link] if you would care to check it out, a little shaky as the light was low
Photo thoughts & how I took it--- A Fall storm brings snow and rain to the Indian Peaks of the Colorado Rocky mountains during the height of Autumn as Aspen trees give off a brilliant yellow and gold glow. Quite the crazy weather which brought me snow, rain and hail while photographing. For this image I used a Fotodiox circular polarizer and a Fotodiox Grad ND which helped to even out the exposure. The color was just really something to see against that sky, it really made it pop. Fun times! As far as processing, slight HDR masking to bring out the textures more within the scene. ---John
As the sun rises in the east it brings new life and light to the ancient Bristlecone Forest at the Mount Evans Wilderness in Colorado. The wind was absolutely howling when I took this photograph and I had to really anchor my tripod pretty hard to get it. Then again a lot of the time it is windy up here at Mount Evans, however it is always beautiful!