Sunday, 29 January 2012

Buxton Gallery in the Gardens - New Display

I forgot to say that on Friday I changed my display in Buxton Gallery in the Gardens, in Pavilion Gardens.

Just as well, one on the big framed prints was sold Saturday morning and I didn't get in to replace it until this afternoon.

All of the original prints in the front browser have been changed too and they are all half-price. The small prints were re-stocked too.

Lots to look at and browse through, well over 200 prints in fact.

Winter Walk in the Peak District

Saturday 28th January was a great day in the English Peak District. Blue sky, white fluffy clouds, snow on the tops.

We were out a bit late, after 3pm, but the low sun made for great views. I only had my mobile phone camera so just a quick snap as a reminder.

The view is from Ladder Hill looking towards snow covered Kinderscout, the highest point in Derbyshire at 636m. The foreground wasn't very interesting so I cropped it to panoramic format.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Home Sweet Home

We returned home from our USA trip on Saturday. The United flight from Denver to Washington was fine but the Virgin flight from Washington DC to London Heathrow was cancelled. We only found out a few hours before we were due to go to the airport; we had checked-in several hours earlier. No reason given. At the airport we were at the front of the queue that developed and Virgin said all the right things but it took so long to get sorted.

Unfortunately, BA and Virgin didn't seem to understand what paperwork was needed to make the change so 2 hours later we were still waiting for our bookings to be transferred. Eventually, most of the Virgin passengers were transferred to equivalent BA flights.

My back was aching by the time we left the plane in London. BA Business class seats are not flat like the Virgin ones, which is the main reason why we fly Virgin on long flights.

A quick diversion to visit Jan's parents and pick up our things left there at Christmas, then Jan drove us home by mid-afternoon Saturday. My back was really aching so I went to bed to rest it for a few hours. It was nice to be home.

It's 4 days later and I'm still trying to get over the jet-lag. Feeling tired at the wrong time of day and not sleeping at night. Walking to Buxton for a day in Gallery in the Gardens yesterday seemed to help tire me out so that I slept better. Over 3 of the 4 hours walking the 12 miles over the hills were in the dark in continuous heavy rain, much of it in low cloud too. Not the best day for walking but a good day to test the new head torch that I bought in REI Boulder!

It's a Black Diamond Spot head torch with a 90 lumens main beam.  The bright beam lit the ground even in fog, rain and in the dark so that was a success. It also has a red beam which I thought would be useful for me finding things and changing film when doing night photography. Having to find a street light or similar to let me see what I'm doing can be a bit limiting and I thought a red beam would be better than bright white as far as retaining night vision, rather than the usual spots in front of the eyes after using white light.

Today I'm continuing to catch up with orders received while we were away.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Last Day in Boulder

Our travels are coming to an end. This is our last full day with our friends Rob and Annie in Boulder in Colorado. Tomorrow morning we leave for Denver Airport and return to Washington DC and Friday we fly back to the UK.

Last night was good as we met our other good friends from Boulder, Paul, Ed and Johanne for dinner at one of the local brew pubs, the Walnut Brewery. Didn't like the porter, too sweet and hoppy so called in at the Mountain Sun brew pub on our way home with Rob. The Java Porter nitro version was fantastic so I had a second just to make sure.

Earlier yesterday we did a snowshoe hike to Red Rocks Lake in temperatures around -15°C and 30mph winds. It was chilly! I took some pictures from the frozen surface of the lake but not the one I wanted as the surrounding mountains were in cloud.

We decided that we needed warming up so headed for the local brewery in Nederland on our way back to Boulder. Jolly nice Redemption Stout.

We snowshoed the day before too, to Lost Lake near Nederland. It snowed the whole time. It was a good walk though. See image of me, Jan and Rob below.

Since the last blog post we have skied Canyons near Park City. This had the worst snow of all the areas but I took a good shot of a single set of ski tracks in amongst Aspen trees and shadows. Hope it prints as well as I expect it to.

The 6th and last ski day was in Steamboat Springs last Saturday. The snow was poor here too but it was interesting to ski as we had heard so much about it. In the evening we met and had dinner with Carol and Jack, friends of Rob and Annie. They moved there many years ago. It was very enjoyable and turned out both were pilots and had their own planes. I was stunned when Jack then offered to take us up in their plane the next day! It would have been churlish to refuse such a generous offer so with much excitement we met up the next day! It was a blue sky day and cold, perfect visibility too.

Jack was meticulous in his pre-flight checks of his Cessna then it was up and away above the local mountains.

I didn't want to take photos through the windows so worked out that sitting up front with the side window open was the best way to take my shots. The window only opened to about 45° so I could only take photos looking down between the bottom of the window, the wing strut and the landing wheel below the window.

No expansive views or skies, just pattern pictures of the Mount Zirkel area as well as Steamboat Springs ski slopes, etc. Fingers crossed they come out as it was a bit bumpy at times and I had to use shutter speeds of 1/125 and 1/250.

The flight was exciting for another reason though; Jack let me take the controls and 'fly' the plane for a few minutes. Jan, sitting behind me, didn't seem to share my excitement during this time and was relieved when Jack took over again!

I took 3 rolls of Ilford FP4, 30 photos during the hour long flight, which flew by!

It has been great spending so much time with Rob and Annie but I am actually looking forward to getting home as we have been away almost 4 weeks.

I am also impatient to see what new pictures I have in the 61 rolls of FP4 so that I can think about which ones to add to the web site.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Deer Valley and Alta, Utah Skiing

Having unseasonably warm weather here in USA at moment. No real snowfall since we arrived. Still managing to ski though. Lots of blue sky for photos. Mainly using dark yellow filter with Ilford FP4 as lots of dark green conifers around, otherwise I would be using orange more.

Yesterday was Deer Valley, today was Alta, both in Utah near Salt Lake City. Both have bans on snowboarding which was bliss.

With little fresh snow for over a week they are struggling to keep runs open. Still enough to go at though but very strange seeing so much brown hillside with no snow on it.

Tomorrow we ski Canyons, just outside Park City. Saturday we ski Steamboat in Colorado.

Had our 3rd night at the Redrock Brewery tonight. It's just over a half-mile from our hotel and has reasonable beer and food.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Park City Utah Skiing

Today, Monday 9th January was a ski day at Utah's Park City ski area. Normally this is one of the most reliable ski areas for snow but right now it is struggling. A lot of the trails were closed, not just because the odd rock was showing but because the whole hillside was bare of snow!

Took a few photos, subtle tones between Aspens and snowy ski trails showed up well from above. Saw a sign saying Kodak photo point but with a closed sign on it. A bit ironic as Kodak are in serious financial problems which may close the company, permanently !

We stayed with Butch and Melissa, relatives of Annie and Rob, our friends from Boulder who were accompanying us on this trip, as well as putting up with us at their home. We were very well looked after at their ranch home on the Wyoming / Utah border.

Managed to find a hotel just north of Park City that is easy walking distance from a brewery. The Oatmeal Stout was okay but a bit bland.

Tomorrow we ski Deer Valley. They have twice the depth of snow compared to Park City. Fingers crossed it's good!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Teton Snowshoe Day

Forecast was for clouds and snow showers but we had blue sky all day!

We decided to return to Taggert Lake to re-take the photos of yesterday and then carry on to neighbouring Bradley Lake. We used snowshoes and easily covered the ground.

I used a Satmap gps with detailed topo mapping to keep us on track. The section down to Bradley Lake was quite steep but otherwise it was easy.

Lots of photos of the close-by main Tetons. Excellent light all day. Used orange filters a lot but also dark yellow when I was concerned about making the dark green conifers too dark.

Even managed some picket fencing and shadows near the car.

Another great day for taking photos.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Jackson Hole Skiing and Grand Tetons Snowshoeing

My daily blog is a bit behind as I have been ill since arriving in America. Still trying to keep to plans as need the photos.

Wednesday we skied Jackson Hole on a really good day. The views from the high point for the area (Rendezvous Mountain) were spectacular but it was bloody cold!

The surrounding mountains, as well as those for skiing, are all in the Tetons. Jackson is renowned for having lots of snow but right now the cover is thin and icy in places. The skiing was good though and I took 4 rolls of Ilford FP4, so I now have shots of the Jackson Hole ski area.

After skiing I had a quick turnaround and was out taking night shots in Jackson town. There is a square in the centre with Christmas lights on the trees there and an illuminated arch on each of the 4 corners. The arches are made of Elk antlers so they are a bit unusual. I seemed to be a bit of a novelty and had several conversions with passers-by.

Thursday was another good day with blue skies, frosted trees and a few clouds. It was cold, -15°C, but clear - great for photos.

We followed 191 north and pulled up at the winter trailhead for Antelope Flats and I was out of the car as the wheels stopped turning, eager not to miss the light and eager to cover the mile to the first location. The first stop was a barn with a frosted tree and the Grand Tetons range in the background.

Then it was along Mormon Row to Moulton Barn. This is better known than the first barn but I preferred the first. There were a few other photogenic buildings here too. The last shots were of frosted trees with the Grand Tetons in the background.

Next stop was Oxbow Bend. The light was poor so few shots. Then a bit of exercise snowshoeing around the Colter Bay area. Again the light was poor.

Friday and we spent another good day photographing the Tetons. We had a leisurely start as a poor day was forecast. We had blue sky in Jackson but as we drove closer the clouds were thick over the big peaks.

These had thinned by time we reached Oxbow Bend. Great light. Lots of shots with patches of water and snow in foreground and Tetons in background. I took a mix of wide-angle and standard lens shots so I have some where the mountains are larger in the frame.

Then it was down to the Jackson Lake dam. Not so much to put in the foreground but spotted some animal tracks in the snow so used them as a lead-in.

Great light at Teton Point Viewpoint so a quick stop here; directly in front of Grand Teton the highest mountain in the range.

Then it was time for some exercise and we snowshoed to Taggert Lake.
The light was a bit subdued but still okay. Made it back to the car as it was going dusk.

It was a 2 brewery evening, first with fizzy bitter and a Thai meal then to the Snake River Brewery for some Zonker Stout. Had to de-aerate using a mix of techniques, whisking with a straw and pouring from glass to glass. It was worth it though.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


We survived the New Years Eve party with Rob and Annie. Nice to meet so many of their friends.

New Years Day we drove 4 hours to Laramie in Wyoming. It was dead, looked like everyone had gone somewhere else. The historic old town also didn't impress so no photos. The brewery pub was shut which put another black mark against the town.

The day after we drove to Rock Springs. A bigger town than Laramie and the brewery pub (Bitter Creek. Brewing Co) was open! Had a jolly nice porter, several times. Their chiller was broken so it was actually served at the right temperature.

Today, 3rd January, we drove to Jackson. A large town with a reputation for great skiing. Took a few photos en route, mainly skyscapes, but not a great day for pictures.

There hasn't been much snow in the USA this winter so the lower meadows along the roads are not that spectacular.

The brewery pub in Jackson was open and had some jolly nice Zonker stout.

Tomorrow we ski Jackson Hole. The forecast is good so fingers crossed there will be some good photos too.