Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Winter Solstice Sunrise

Ah yes, the first day of Winter here in the great state of Colorado....

Rode out shortly after 6:30 AM and there was already the beginnings of light showing in the pre-dawn darkness.

Scarlett and I hurried over to the vicinity of the Aurora Track and found ourselves a good position to watch the sunrise.  At first I worried I'd parked Scarlett too close to one of the lamp posts situate on the road leading to the track but in the end, it gave depth to the pictures.

 One of the early shots, in Sunset mode, I think turned out the best.
The shots are in sequence, very minimal tweaking done using's online tools.
Besides using Sunset mode where notes, there was no tweaking of the colors produced
by the new camera, just slight addition of clarity, shadows and of course, resizing.

 above and below shot in Sunset Mode, the second
shot was two minutes later.

 Shot using iAuto mode

Sunset Mode, the camera's sensor shot it with at f/4 1/60sec ISO 100
really bloomed the reds out didn't it, kind of looks like the sky is on fire.

 Same shot, but now applying the "watercolor" artistic filter,
just playing around with Photoshop.

 As the skies brightened, I also shot Scarlett as she was illuminated
by the pre-sunrise dawn light

 As the Sun crested the horison, its bright light dulled the previous light show

On the way home, we saw a view of Pikes Peak in the distance

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Perry Park, the Day before the Winter's Solstice

A nice sunny day here in Colorado, we've got snow forecasted for tomorrow, the Winter's Solstice.

Temperatures stayed in the 40s all day as I rode to and from Perry Park, using CO 105/Douglas County 105.  I even saw several other motorcycle riders enjoying the nice weather before the incoming storm.

It was a late start for today's riding as the family and I first had to try and get a good picture for the annual Christmas letter.  The one with the boys and Scarlett turned out OK, the one with all of us will probably have to be re-shot.  Still trying to master the use of my iphone while it's connected to the camera via WiFi and enabling the shutter remotely you see.

 A view of the Perry Park Golf Course

 The backside of "Camel Rock"

 Camel Rock

Houses along Red Rock Road

Scarlett and I got back home safely by 3:30 PM, the weather had warmed up into the high 40s by then.  A really nice day for riding here, hope you got a chance to ride wherever you are.

Previously: A Distant Pike Peak's Sunset

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Distant Pikes Peak Sunset

I finished up work around 3:30PM today, the end of a rather long week dealing with things that sometimes made me wonder about my life's choices.

To clear my head, I headed out around fifteen minutes later and took the back roads to the town of Parker.  Once there, I was in the beginning portion of the evening traffic rush.  Surrounded by massive SUVs and cagers preoccupied with getting to their own homes, I rode south on CO State Highway 83 to and then through Parker.

I transited through the next town, Franktown, several minutes later with the sun dipping ever lower into the western horizon.  I wondered if I would be in time to catch the sunset's light on distant Pikes Peak.

Soon I was passing by the main entrance to the Cottonwood Canyon State Park and parking Scarlett on the small parking area where one can observe Pikes Peak, about 30 miles away as the crow flies.

The sun was just beginning to touch the front range mountain peaks as I started taking pictures.  The sun's angle this time of year precluded it setting behind Pikes Peak of course, so I had to make do with incidental lighting.

I rode home in darkness, back to the town of Parker and now the second half of the evening traffic rush.  Got home with no issues, I think perhaps the time to try a photo of the above spot is before late morning hour when the sun is shining fully upon Pikes Peak.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12-13-14 Ride

A heavily overcast and gray day here in Colorado, with snow in the forecast for tomorrow.  Yay.

After a lazy breakfast, I headed out shortly after 9:10:11 AM (see what I did there?) and made my way through the Metro Denver area towards Morrison to see what we could see.

Scarlett and I first meandered into Red Rocks Park to let my new camera show me its stuff in terms of rocky formation photography; I think it did pretty well:

same spot, the next day, after a disappointing snow fall

same spot, the next day, after a disappointing snow fall

same spot, the next day, after a disappointing snow fall

Leaving Red Rocks Park, we turned west onto Bear Creek Canyon Road and twisted and turned our way through the hamlets of Idledale and Kittredge, ending up in the small town of Evergreen.  To the west of town is Witter Gulch Road but first the standard posing of one's motorcycle on Golden Willow Road which is just past the gulch road.

Golden Willow Road and a view of peaks to the west

Witter Gulch Road used to be a fun dirt road to ascend and descend from the vicinity of Squaw Pass but now its nicely paved and without much challenge except for a couple of tight hairpin turns.

Once on Squaw Pass Road aka CO State Highway 103, Scarlett and I continued westward, ascending towards Echo Lake and the junction with CO5, the road to Mount Evans.  The road to Mt Evans is closed for the season but there were several spots on the way to Echo Lake and around the lake that lent themselves to pictures:

 Along CO 103, east of Echo Lake

Scarlett and I continued west on CO 103, descending fairly rapidly on pavement which sometimes presented ice and frozen snow.  There wasn't much but a couple of spots would have given me pause had I been on two wheels!

Soon enough, we made it to the town of Idaho Springs which straddles the I-70 Super Slab.  I spied an old locomotive and turned back towards town to get a closer look.

 Some joker turned the number plate on the front of the engine
upside down, what is it with people not being able to leave things alone?
I sent an email to the mayor to let him know.

 Check out the oil lamps hanging by the ceiling....I think I would
have been a bit nervous riding with such above me.

 Standing where the coal would have been carried, ready to be
shoveled into the locomotive's furnace via 
the door below

The small waterfall, slowly freezing over, which is a landmark
for Idaho Springs.

The rest of the ride was boring super slab riding on I-70 heading back into the Metro Denver area, retracing the morning's route.  We got home shortly after 3:00PM, no issues to report except that the low fuel sensor on Scarlett has once again failed.  It's been replaced once under warranty, I don't think I'm going to bother getting another one from the dealer.  Scarlett averaged 39 mph during this last tank of gas, and still had 3/4 of a gallon in the tank when I topped her off with 277 km on the trip meter!

Here's a comparison of basically the same shot at Echo Lake, new and old cameras, I think the sony picture is crisper but the colors are a tad better on the Panasonic.  You'll note I photoshopped the signs out on the Panasonic picture.

Also, the colors were more accurate on the Sony picture, based on what I recall from today's riding.

Echo Lake with the Sony A5000 and Telephoto Lens

Echo Lake with the Panasonic Lumix ZS8

Update: 15DEC14: Added "after" shots of three spots in Red Rocks Park.