Sunday, 31 January 2010

Denver Airport

Just waiting at the gate at Denver Airport for our flight to New York. This the boring part of any trip.

Had an easy day yesterday. Started with a massage on my bad back followed by a walk around the Flatirons and back into Boulder.

In the evening we had a nice last evening with Rob, Annie and friends.

Looks like our plane has arrived, lots of people coming out of our gate.
Still looks like will be on time which puts us in New York early evening.
Will try and have my 50 rolls of exposed film processed in New York before we leave on Tuesday.
Dave Butcher

Saturday, 30 January 2010

2nd Time Lucky at Copper Mountain

Today (actually yesterday since I'm writing this after midnight!) We skied Copper Mountain, a bit under 2 hours from Boulder.

We skied the same area last year in low cloud and snow storms so had no idea what it actually looked like.
There were excellent views from the high lifts and good light on the slopes for action shots.
Blue skies all day and next to no clouds. I used a dark yellow filter for all my shots, to darken the sky without making the dark green conifers that were in most shots, go very dark or black.

Day around Boulder tomorrow abd fly to New York late morning Sunday.
Dave Butcher

Friday, 29 January 2010

Winter Park Ski Day

Another ski day, this time in Winter Park, west of Denver.

We had a sunny morning then it clouded over and was followed by more sunshine. A good day for photos.
Slopes were a bit thin in places but mostly the skiing was good.

Staying in Dillon we walked to the Dam Brewery for dinner. Beer was a bit fizzy though so had to stir up to remove the gas.

Tomorrow we plan to ski Copper Mountain, about 30 mins from here.
Forecast is for mostly sunshine. Fingers crossed for a good day, our last planned ski day of this winter.
Dave Butcher

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bird Feeder

Have now had time to look up the birds that we saw today. Both were grey and black.

The first ones were Gray Jays but we also saw some that sounded like Nutcrackers that are often heard but seldom see in the Alps.
On checking these were also Nutcrackers - Clark's Nutcracker.

Jan and Rob decided to see how tame these birds were by putting sandwich scraps on my hat. The nutcracker was the only one brave enough to swoop in and take the food although the Gray Jays would eat from an outstretched hand.
Don't think European Nutcracker's do this!
Dave Butcher

3rd Time Lucky at Red Rocks Lake

Another snowshoe day today. This time in the Indian Peaks Wilderness around Brainard Lake.
I wanted to get a shot of the mountains from Red Rocks Lake. I saw the shot 4 and a half years ago but knew it would be better in winter.
After 2 failed attempts last January we returned and today was the day!
The forecast was a bit iffy but we went anyway and what a good jjob we did; it was fantastic.
Red Rocks Lake was frozen and wearing snowshoes I could wander anywhere to frame the shot.
The mountains were snowy with blue sky and clouds swirling around the tops. A few snowy rocks made for a good foreground and I was excitedly taking pictures.
Third time lucky it was!

The day had just started and we carried on to Brainard Lake along the snowshoe trail, mostly through untracked snow.
From Brainard we headed to Long Lake. There was deep drifted snow here so we decided we would make better time on the frozen lake surface.
It was 2pm at the far (west) end so we decided to make our way back. The time and the fact that it was snowing steadily made up our minds!
A few tree shots on the return in rather dull conditions. The mountains had long since disappeared.
Just 4 rolls of 120 Ilford FP4 (10 shots per roll) but some crackers in there!
It's always rather special when a shot that's been years in the planning comes good.

Tomorrow we ski Winter Park and Friday Copper Mountain.
Not much left of this trip. We leave Colorado on Sunday and get home on Wednesday.
Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

Had a day snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Started at Glacier Gorge Trailhead and walked to Alberta Falls. All frozen, quite a contrast to the last time we saw it in June a few years ago.
Then on to Mills Lake but Long's Peak in clouds the whole time.
I even walked about a third of the length of the lake along the frozen surface in the middle. Quite a different perspective to normal.

Pictures of Glacier Falls in Glacier Gorge on way back. Similar viewpoint used to onr that I used for Ilford SFX promo shot.
Tomorrow we snowshoe near Brainard Lake and ski Thurs and Friday.
Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Monarch Ski Day

We left Gunnison before 9am and headed east to Monarch Pass and the small ski area of Monarch.

In less than 1 and a half hours we were on first lift going up the mountain.
With wall to wall blue sky and very cold temperature (-12C) providing a heavy frost on the trees I knew I would have some special shots from the day.
Recent fresh snow gave good skiing and the clear views and fosted and snowy trees gave me lots of shots.
A few clouds added to the big views to the mountains to the north (the Mount Shavano area).

We had decided to finish early since we still had a 4 hour drive to get back to Boulder.
On the way north I spotted some good views to the big mountains (14000 foot) to the west. These included Mounts Shavarno, Tabeguache, Antero and Princeton.
A couple of stops were needed for photos!

A storm was coming in fast and blocked the pass we were heading for which meant we had to turn around and divert to Colorado Springs adding over an hour to the journey.
Fingers crossed we should be in Boulder in another couple of hours.
Dave Butcher

Monday, 25 January 2010

Crested Butte Skiing

Today was another ski day. We stayed in Gunnison and drove the 20-odd miles to the Crested Butte ski area.
We had snow and low cloud until after lunch when the clouds thinned and the sun came out.
It was a fantastic afternoon; great fresh snow and good views. For a change I was able to take big views.
I ran off 5 rolls of 120 Ilford FP4. So that gives me a good few to get stuck into.

Tomorrow we return to Boulder and will try and fit in a half day of skiing en route.
Dave Butcher

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sand Dunes to Wolf Creek to Durango to Gunnison

Had a few problems with Blackberry not allowing me to post to my blog. I have reverted to the old template and it seems to work. Just a bit behind.

Wednesday I dropped off a batch of film for processing before heading south. About 4 and a half hours later we were at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Clouds hid the 14000 foot peaks from view and the dunes had dull lighting. Not much sign of snow either, just the odd patch here and there.
I walked out towards the dunes with Rob just as the dunes disappeared from view as a snow blizzard blew in. It was quite unpleasant but only lasted about 30 minutes then the clouds broke up to reveal blue sky.
The dunes were transformed. It was magical. Can't wait to see the pictures, I ran off 10 rolls in a couple of hours.

Next day was a ski day at Wolf Creek. It snowed continually so just took a few snowy tree shots for Christmas card images. From here it was west in appalling conditions to Durango.
All roads seemed to be closed around us so we stayed an extra night and snowshoed in the local hills in deep snow.
We checked out 2 of the 5 breweries. The Carver and Steamworks both had excellent beers on tap.

Today we escaped west then north, calling in briefly to Telluride before moving on to Gunnison, our base for 2 nights.
Tomorrow we ski Crested Butte.
Forecast is good for a change so maybe I will be able to take some big views. Hope so.
Found the brewery in Gunnison and tried their brews.
Dave butcher

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Keystone Skiing

We were up early today to go skiing at Keystone, about 1h 45m from Boulder.
On the slopes by 10.30am. Grey to start with then some sunshine.

Just 2 rolls (10 exposures) of views to the neighbouring Breckenridge, an old tree stump with nice dappled lighting and a view of some ski runs.

Tomorrow we travel to Vail, weather permitting. We had thought we would go to A-Basin but snow there not that good so not all lifts and runs open.

Stopped off at Pug Ryans for a beer on way to hotel then had dinner at the Dam Brewery in Dillon. Now safely back in hotel about to turn out the light and get some sleep.
Dave Butcher

Monday, 18 January 2010

Boulder Day

We had a quiet leisurely day in Boulder for a change.
Sorted out hiring ski gear and a few other odds and ends before heading to the hills.
Walked about 5 miles along the Dakota Ridge and back past Red Rocks to Boulder Creek and then Walnut Brewery. Our good friend Paul joined us for the evening.
Then on to the Rib House for dinner before finishing at the Mountain Sun Brewery for a pint of Java Porter. Quite tired now, the trip seems to be catching up with us, so turned in early.

Off to Keystone skiing tomorrow. Fingers crossed for good weather.
Dave Butcher

Sunday, 17 January 2010

New York Photos

We arrived in New York Thursday late afternoon. No snow but dry. After checking in to hotel we went straight out taking photographs, all night time shots.
The Woolworth Building was first followed by Brooklyn Bridge. Too much vibration from traffic for long exposures from the bridge but great shots from Brooklyn.
Many more lights than in May so buildings were ablaze with lights.

Friday was overcast until early afternoon. Didn't matter for some shots and others I retook later on.
Staying in the Downtown part of Manhattan put us in a good place for shots of Wall Street, SoHo fire escapes and Ground Zero (now a huge building site).
For night shots we walked to Midtown and the Empire State Building and Chrysler building. Dinner was in the Heartland Brewery next to the Empire State Building. Jolly tasty Porter on draught.
We finished with some shots of the Rochefeller Centre and the ice rink.

Saturday we visited Liberty Island for shots of the Statue of Liberty.
It's enormous up close! Then on to Ellis Island before heading back to Manhattan Waterfront on the East River.
It was raining the last time we were here so I took a few shots before returning to hotel for bags and taxi to airport.
So far I have taken 27 rolls of Ilford FP4 at 10 shots per roll of 120 film.

Last night we flew Delta to Denver where our old friend Rob was waiting for us. We were soon back in Boulder having achat until the small hours with Rob and Annie. Sounds like Rob has lots of plans for us based on what I requested for photo needs.

Today we catch up and hire ski gear and visit some of the local hostelries (around 7 micro breweries here).

Will drop off film for processing Tuesday night or Wednesday morning at local pro lab.
Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Lake Light 3rd Proof

I sent off the edited version of the 3rd proof of Lake Light last night. It's pretty much done and, with a couple of minor edits, will be sent to Joe Cornish so that he can write the foreword.
Cover design is done too.

As we are moving forward so well and the launch date is getting closer we have added Lake Light to the Books page on the web site. If you would like a copy you can now order it by paying £15 (post free worldwide).
It will be shipped when available (late Feb/early March) in the order in which orders are received.
Encouragingly, I already have several orders.
The official launch will be at the Focus on Imaging show at the NEC 7th to 10th March but we should have the book a week or so before this so those ordering early will receive their signed copies of Lake Light before anyone else.

With the new layout it looks like there will be 88 or 89 photographs in the book. For a long time it looked like it would be 85 but Andy changed the layout and needed more images to make it work.
Dave Butcher

Evening at Heathrow

We made good time to reach hotel near Heathrow Airport at 4.15pm. Jan decided to go across to Macclesfield since hadn't heard any reports of it being closed. Lots of snow at side of road, some quite high, but road had 2 clear lanes so fine.
Not much snow in Cheshire so went cross-country to Holmes Chapel to join M6 motorway.
Motorways all the way to just a couple of miles from airport.
Just watching Cameroon v Gabon in African cup of nations before venturing down for dinner and a pint.
Dave Butcher

USA Here We Come (Weather Permitting!)

Just checking the last few things are done befeore we leave for Heathrow. We are checked into a hotel for tonight and catch Virgin flight to New York tomorrow. Then 2 nights and most of 2 days taking photos in New York before flying out to Denver on Saturday early evening.

Have had 100 rolls of Ilford FP4 120 film delivered to our friends in Boulder from a US photo dealer and will try and take 50 rolls onto plane as carry on. If not allowed have taken the precaution to have some jiffy bags and stamps ready to post them home.

Light snow here at moment and many Peak District roads still blocked by snow so will head north to Stockport to pick up motorway, then M6, M1 south. Fingers crossed all fine for getting down today and flying out tomorrow!
Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Thaw Begins

The temperature was above freezing for the first time in 3 or 4 weeks and the snow, that is still several inches deep, is now soft and wet. There was fresh snow last night, not much here but enough, with a strong wind behind it, to close all roads into and out of Buxton except the A6. I had to go into Buxton today and thought Long Hill was open, since it wasn't mentioned on any reports, but the road closed sign was out when I got there so turned around and went to Chapel and used A6.

Bit busy at moment trying to tie off loose ends before leave on photo trip on Wednesday. Tomorrow (or later today!) will be a busy day.

Just returned 3rd proof of Lake Light book. Saw the map for the first time, just 1 edit to this and 1 edit to image captions, so that was good. Should be able to send to Joe Cornish to write foreword later this week.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snowshoeing to Buxton Gallery

Today was a Buxton Gallery day so I decided to use snowshoes instead of walking as usual.

There was good 6 inches everywhere and the temperature was -13C outside and it was clear as a bell, but dark as I started at 7 am.

Although there was snow from outside the front door I decided to carry the snowshoes for the first half mile to get past 3 stiles before putting them on. It was very grippy snow but a bit deep crossing a field up to the last stile. Now on the cart track it was time for snowshoes. There was up to 2 feet of drifted snow on the tops. Even in the deepest snow I only sank a few inches, the snowshoes were perfect for the conditions and saved a lot of slipping and sliding around. I even managed to get right outside the back doors of Pavilion Gardens before I needed to take them off. Just the hour longer to get in compared to a normal walk.

Jolly quiet in Buxton. Only saw a couple of dozen people in 4 hours. Pavilion Gardens closed 3 and a half hours early so I was able to take some pictures on the way home. Just 1 roll of 10 shots, mostly big views. Also 4 shots of snowboarders but with a wide angle lens they were too small to make a decent photo. I worked out how to cross all 3 stiles while wearing my snowshoes and took them off just inside the back door at home at 5pm, and still daylight. Stayed very cold all day, -10C now.

A bit tired but good practice for our Colorado photo trip starting next.
Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

More Snow in the Peak District

We had more snow in the Peaks last night with more forecast for later today. There is a pretty even 6 to 8 inches in the valleys and more on the tops. Lots of local roads are shut including some major routes like the Cat and Fiddle, Axe Edge, Buxton to Ashbourne road, Snake Pass. The temperature has stayed low since the first snow on the 18th December so it's just building up.

Great conditions for photography if you can get out in it! If the sun's shining take some big views, if it's dull look for small parts of the landscape like rocks, trees and icicles and make something out of these. The dull lighting will actually help to keep the brightness range down so that digital sensors can handle it.

Have fun.
Dave Butcher

Monday, 4 January 2010

Carrying Film in Hand Luggage to and Across the USA

I am travelling to the USA in a week or so and have been concerned about taking 200 rolls of Ilford FP4 in hand luggage after the recent Christmas Day terrorist incident on a plane bound for Detroit. Checking web sites and sending emails to airlines didn't help much so I wrote directly to the US Transport Security Agency to seek clarification. Here is their reply in full and below it my original email to them. It appears that the situation has not changed regarding availability of hand checks and taking film in carry-on luggage:

"Thank you for your request for information on the screening of photographic equipment and film at airport screening checkpoints. We encourage you to visit our website at for additional information about TSA. All travelers, and particularly those who travel infrequently, are encouraged to visit the section on travel tips before their trip. The website has information about prohibited and permitted items, the screening process and procedures, and guidance for special considerations that may assist in preparing for air travel. You can find these tips and more under the "Our Traveler" heading on the TSA website.

For your convenience, we are including the following information from our website about traveling with film.

The x-ray machines used to screen carry-on baggage at the passenger checkpoints should not damage film or equipment. However, the x-ray equipment used for screening checked baggage is more powerful and will damage your undeveloped film. You should remove all undeveloped film from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on baggage.

At the passenger security checkpoint, you should remove the following types of film from your carry-on baggage and ask for a hand inspection:

• Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher
• Highly sensitive X-ray or scientific films
• Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)
• Film that is or will be underexposed
• Film that you intend to "push process"
• Sheet film
• Large format film
• Medical film
• Scientific film
• Motion picture film
• Professional grade film

You may request a hand-inspection of any undeveloped film. The X-ray machine at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800. However, multiple X-ray inspections (more than 5 times) of the same roll of undeveloped film may cause damage. The machines used to screen your checked baggage or carry-on baggage will not affect digital camera images or film that has already been processed, slides, photo compact discs, or picture discs.

Other Precautions

• If you plan to request a hand inspection of your film, you should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting it into clear plastic bags, to expedite the screening process.
• If you are going to be traveling through multiple X-ray examinations with the same rolls of undeveloped film, you may want to request a hand-inspection of your film. However, non-U.S. airports may not honor this request.
• If you plan to hand-carry undeveloped film on an airplane at an international airport, contact the airport security office at that airport to request a manual inspection.
• Consider having your exposed film processed locally before passing through airport security on your return trip.
• We recommend that you do not place your film in lead-lined bags since the lead bag will have to be hand-inspected. If you have concerns about the impact of the X-ray machine on your undeveloped film, you can request a hand inspection.
• You may still consider bringing a lead-lined bag if you are traveling through airports in other countries as their policies may vary. Check with your airline or travel agent for more information on foreign airports.

Please keep in mind security screening at foreign airports is beyond TSA jurisdiction. Travelers must go through different clearance procedures when crossing international borders. Passengers and their baggage are also screened for security according to standards established by the Government of that country. As a sovereign entity, that country may establish its own security requirements for airports and air carriers that are not necessarily the same as those required in the United States.

We hope this information is helpful.
TSA Contact Center"

--- Original Message ---

From: "Dave Butcher"

Received: 12/29/09 2:24:03 PM EST

To: "TSA Contact Center"

Subject: Camera film in carry-on luggage

In the light of the recent tightening of security on air travel I would appreciate some advice concerning the carriage of camera film in hand luggage. It is unclear from searching recent web information what the situation is regarding film.

I am a photographer working exclusively in black and white and I use film for all of my work. It cannot go in hold luggage or it will be ruined by the x-rays (I have seen x-ray damage on the film that I use from hand luggage x-ray machines so more powerful x-rays, as used on hold luggage, will effectively destroy negatives). Will I be able to take factory wrapped rolls of Ilford 120 roll film onto the plane as hand luggage at JFK, and Denver? Will I be able to take exposed rolls of Ilford 120 roll film onto the plane as hand luggage?

When I have visited the USA previously I have always received good service from staff, who perform a hand search of my films. Film is always carried in clear polythene bags to assist them. Will I still be able to have hand searches of films on my forthcoming trip?
Please advise. Thanks.
Kind regards,
Dave Butcher

Course Photos - Dave Whenham

Here are a couple of images from a course that I ran in October. Yes, I know it's a bit late but it was a bit busy and I wasn't as organised as I needed to be at times! Hope you like them and well done to Dave for taking a couple of crackers.

"Hi Dave, a couple of images that I feel illustrate some of what I learnt on the day. The square image was composed following a chat with Jan about less is more and focusing in on details. The other (which has a gentle copper tone) is the last image you and I worked on and shows that persistence did pay off I feel. Both were taken at Three Shires (as if I need to tell you!). I hope they are the right size for you. Thanks again.
Kind Regards, Dave"