Flower Season

Tis Summer time in the northern Hemisphere. That means some wildflowers in the mountain meadows. Though I live in the desert regions of western Colorado so I don’t get any flowers where I live, I am still close to mountains where they are common.

These were taken in Summit County in the same location on 2 different days with the Gore Range as a backdrop.

I will be headed to Crested Butte considered the wildflower capital of Colorado for one week at the end of July. My concern is that many areas of Colorado are experiencing very dry conditions for the past several months (since at least March) and conditions might not be that good, let’s all hope things are decent down there in two weeks.

 

Lupine Clusters in the Gore Range
Clusters of Lupine with Guyselmann Mountain in the backdrop. Ever hear of South Park? Made famous by a cartoon created by Colorado natives Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Would you know that there are 3 “Parks” in Colorado? South Park, Middle Park and North Park. A Park is a Colorado term for a high elevation mountain valley. In the case of Middle Park it is a narrow valley just north of Silverthorne going all the way up to Heeney or Green Mountain Reservoir. As for South Park? The town in the cartoon is based off of Fairplay, the largest town in the valley of South Park and county seat of Park County.
Lupine flowers with the Gore Range
East Thorne is visible on the left above some Lupines.
The Gore Range above a field of grass and Wildflowers
Red Peak and East Thorne visible. The towns of Summit County and Lake Dillon (very popular recreation area) are just out of shot down low and to the left of this scene. Though theses towns and lake are not visible from this region, both Red Peak and East Thorne are dominant mountains from that region
Middle Park, Colorado and the Gore Range
wider angle of the valley and Guyselmann Mountain. Guyselmann Mountain itself is almost dead center. The peak on the left is Peak L. Though Peak L is in reality an unnamed peak, it has been given a common name in the old tradition of the Colorado Mountain Club (which I used to be a member of). The CMC in it’s past used to give unnamed peaks a designation with a letter from the alphabet, the Gore Range is the only mountain range in Colorado where these letter designations stuck to provide for, with quite a bit of affection, these unofficial names.

So what is a fault block mountain range? I could give the scientific definition, but how about I keep it in simple terms. It is a mountain range with a fault line on each side. It is a chunk of crust forced straight up as one whole block as opposed to crumpling of the crust like a sheet of crumpled paper as in a Fold Mountain range (the majority of mountain ranges) and then the features are carved by erosion, especially glaciers. Since the mountain range is one full block of crust forced straight up they are general far more sudden and abrupt than other types of ranges and do not have foothills, One other feature of a fault block is their narrowness, unlike fold mountains which have many layers of mountains, fault block usually are only a couple mountain peaks thick and many of the peaks are visible from the valleys on both sides of the range.

 

 

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Speaking engagement, Thunder Mountain Camera Club

Night Photography Speech in Grand Junction

I will be speaking at the Thunder Mountain Camera Club’s July meeting in Grand Junction. It will be the first part of my night photography course with the camera club and will be about an hour. The second part will be an outing in August, date and location for this has yet to be determined, as for the July speech it will be at the Camera Clubs usual meeting place at the Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction starting around 7 PM.

Address is:

 Western Colorado Community College
2520 Blichmann, Building B, Room 171 – Grand Junction

What about some of my newest night photos?
Autumn Milky Way above Snowdon Peak, Molas Lake, Silverton, Colorado
Snowdon Peak of the West Needle Mountains south of Silverton below the Autumn Milky Way, all being reflected in the calm waters of Molas Lake
Spring Milky Way Above Silverton, Colorado
Spring Milky Way Above Silverton, Colorado

Summer 2017 Return

Winter Milky Way and the Grenadier Range

Let’s kick off my return to blogging with one of my favorite photos taken after my last posting.

I call this, “The Star of Silverton”. The winter Milky Way and the Grenadier Range near Silverton

Night photography in the Rockies
Winter Milky Way and the Grenadier Range near Silverton

 

Tha Gores

Summit County, Colorado

One of my favorite mountain ranges in Colorado, an example of a fault block mountain range only about 12 to 16 million years of age which is quite young in geological terms.

They are named for Irish explorer Sir George Gore, though he spent his time exploring Wyoming, his influence was significant enough in Colorado to name one of Colorado’s most spectacular mountain ranges after him.

Peak T emerging from the clouds

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spectacular Guyselman Mountain up close and in person just before sunset

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just an FYI my Astrophotography Basics Part 1: The Milky Way course is up and running. It is just over 3 hours of information and entertaining filled content on how to photograph and process the Milky Way with beginners in mine, but you don’t have to be a first time photographer to enjoy this, anyone might learn something new from this

get the first 3 months for only $ .99 per month which gives you access to ALL courses taught by ALL instructors on the site not just my own.

Where have I been?

Greetings planet Earth calling fresh from photographing our Milky Way. Though I never left the Earth I was super busy with our home galaxy.

I was working on developing an astrophotography course currently at 3 hours long with more courses and lessons coming

Please watch the video below and click on the link. All new Premium subscribers get it for only $ .99 per month for the first 3 months. It also gives you access to all the courses on the website, not just mine.

The best part is, you get to hear my voice, making a fool of myself. So not is it just educational but it is entertaining too.


Shiny Milky Way

Diptych

More to Come?

Dryptich

Not much else to say other than if I can get a shot with a similar subject matter with the North Star in the center perhaps I will make a Triptych. Your thoughts on these? Should I try more?

Sigma 70-200 F2.8 review

Great at F11 iffy at F2.8

A cut and dry quick review of my own personal non scientific test of the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX APO HSM

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A while back I wrote about me buying the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX  APO HSM. I finally have been able to shoot it enough to get a good idea of the performance of this lens. The first striking thing I noticed was the soft focus at f2.8 to f5.6, it is exceptionally noticeable on a full framed camera such as my 5D II. Starting at F8 it started getting sharp with F11 being the sharpest (which is quite surprising as most lenses are sharpest around f8 to f9 range). On the full framed camera F2.8 was almost useless with nothing in an image being sharp. At first I thought it was severe camera shake, but even on a tripod with a shutter release I was still getting the effect. After which I tried shooting it with the Canon Rebel T2i crop sensor camera I recently picked up as a back up, there it definitely performed significantly better at all apertures though still soft at F2.8.  On the crop sensor the F2.8 would perhaps be decent as a portrait lens making the soft focus great for skin though the eyes would not be as sharp as can be.

Below are some samples taken with my 5D MKII at F5.6 and F7. The bottom at F2.8 with a larger crop section of the sharpest area, notice how nothing seems to be tack sharp._MG_0455

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Below is with the 5D MkII at F11, definitely much better

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and below is with the Rebel T2i crop sensor at F9

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The other issue I have had is an attempt at getting a lens hood for this lens, the hood made specifically for this lens by Sigma did not fit and appeared to actually be misshapen, at this point I have not attempted to purchase another one and am not too sure if I will.

Not too sure what it is but this lens definitely is cleaner with a crop sensor camera. At some point I might try another lens to see if perhaps it is just the one I have, but as of this writing I am still sticking with the Canon L lens (even if it is just the F4) though I will be keeping the Sigma for my T2i. Personally I would invest in the more expensive canon L lens before the Sigma.

I would love to know who else has experience with this lens and how you feel about it. Does the Sigma have quality control issues? Or did I just have a run of bad luck.

Below is a shot from my Canon 70-200 F4L at F4, notice the greater clarity as well as sharpness._MG_9829

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